In response to Le Anne Clausen de Montes's letter regarding the use of name "Mohawk" by the Mason City School District:

Most, if not all, names used today to refer to individual Native American tribes were coined by European settlers and the later independent nation states of the Americas. These names are often based on translations of derogatory terms used by enemy tribes. The "Mohawks" called themselves the "Kanien'kehá:ka" (i.e., the people of the flint). Competing Native American tribes referred to the them by various unfavorable terms such as "muhuwe:yck" which translates to "cannibal monsters" or "real snakes."

Dutch settlers paraphrased these terms into the new word "Mohawk", which first appeared in 1630. This Dutch phrase was later adopted into the English language just as Kanien'kehá:ka adopted various cultural traits from other peoples for their own benefit.

The Mason City School District does not need permission to use the English language.

Greg Schotanus, Plymouth

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