|The people who are from this reserve
are called the Six Nations in English, or the Iroquois in French. The Six
Nations was originally made up of five powerful Indian tribes or
Nations: the Mohawk, Onondaga, Seneca, Cayuga and Oneida.
These five groups founded The League of
Peace or Iroquois Confederacy , which governed with a council
of fifty chiefs elected by female elders from each Nation. This system
of government was one of the earliest forms of democracy. Its organizational
structure was used later as the basis of the United States government and
the United Nations. In 1712, the Tuscarora Nation joined the Five
Led by Joseph Brant, some of the Six Nations people fought for the British against the Americans during the War of Independence. After the defeat of the British, they emigrated to Upper Canada, where the British Crown gave them a large area of land to replace land taken by the Americans. The original tract, recognized legally in 1784, covered an area of six miles on either side of the Grand River, from its source to its mouth, in what is now the Province of Ontario near the present towns of Fergus, Brantford and Kitchener-Waterloo.
By 1828, two-thirds of this land had been lost to land sales, land leases and squatters' rights. In 1842, the remaining land became recognized by the British Crown as Six Nations Indian Reserve Number 40. Six Nations of the Grand River was governed by the original form of government until 1924, when the Canadian federal government tried to replace the Six Nations system with a federally-recognized Band Council. Both of these governing bodies exist today.
Source: Six Nations of the Grand River Historical Summary, Indigenous
Studies Program, McMaster University