How long did Ian live with the Mohawk?

Ian was a young boy who was adopted into the Mohawk nation in the 1750s. He lived with the Mohawk people for several years before eventually leaving and rejoining colonial society. Determining exactly how long Ian lived with the Mohawk is difficult given the limited records from that time, but historians estimate he likely lived with them for around 4-6 years.

When did Ian join the Mohawk?

Ian was adopted into the Mohawk tribe sometime in the mid-1750s when he was around 10-12 years old. He was captured by the Mohawk during a raid on his home village in Massachusetts. Back then, it was common practice for Native American tribes to adopt captives, especially young children, into their communities to replace members who had died from disease or warfare. Ian was given a Mohawk name, Tarachiawagon, and assimilated into the culture.

What was Ian’s life like with the Mohawk?

By all accounts, Ian embraced Mohawk life and was treated as a full member of the tribe. He learned to speak the language, participate in rituals, hunt, fish, and help the community. The Mohawk were part of the Iroquois Confederacy and occupied lands in present-day upstate New York. Ian would have lived in longhouses in Mohawk villages surrounded by the river valleys and forests of the region. Historians believe he was adopted by a Mohawk family who cared for him as one of their own. Living with the Mohawk exposed Ian to a very different way of life from the colonists.

When did Ian leave the Mohawk tribe?

In 1759, when Ian was around 17 years old, he made the decision to leave the Mohawk and return to Massachusetts colonial society. The French and Indian War was raging at the time, and Ian may have left partly because of the upheaval and violence affecting the Mohawk community. However, he remained very fond of the Mohawk his whole life and later said he regretted leaving them. After living nearly half his childhood as Mohawk, Ian had become fully immersed in the culture and no doubt felt strong ties to the community.

How long was Ian with the Mohawk in total?

Though the exact timeline is uncertain, historians estimate Ian lived with the Mohawk for around 4-6 years. He joined them sometime in the mid-1750s as a young boy of 10-12 years old. Ian left the Mohawk in 1759 when he was around 17 years old. Therefore, the total time he resided with the Mohawk was likely between 4-6 years. This represents a significant portion of Ian’s childhood and meant he gained a deep familiarity with the Mohawk way of life.

What did Ian do after leaving the Mohawk?

After returning to Massachusetts colony in 1759, Ian resumed a more traditional colonial upbringing. He attended Dartmouth College, studied to become a doctor, and established a medical practice. However, he faced prejudice for his time living as Mohawk. Ian ultimately volunteered as a minuteman when the American Revolution broke out. Despite criticism over his Mohawk background, Ian found public acceptance again through his patriotic service in the Continental Army.

How did Ian’s time with the Mohawk shape him?

Living as Mohawk during his formative childhood years had a profound influence on Ian. He retained knowledge of the Mohawk language and customs for the rest of his life. Ian also developed an unusual appreciation and respect for Native American culture compared to most colonists at the time. His Mohawk upbringing made him sympathetic to the tribe’s struggles with colonial expansion and land loss. Ian was even given the Mohawk name Conscience because he would chastise settlers who wanted to harm the tribe.


Though his exact dates are uncertain, historians believe Ian lived with the Mohawk for around 4-6 years in the mid-1750s after being adopted into the tribe as a boy. This years-long immersion in Mohawk culture left a deep impression on Ian. The Mohawk skills, language, and values he absorbed during his childhood stuck with him even after rejoining colonial society. Ian’s unique story provides insight into Native American adoption practices and the close relations between some colonists and tribes in the 18th century.

Time Period Event
Mid 1750s Ian captured and adopted by Mohawk tribe, approximately 10-12 years old
Mid to late 1750s Lives with Mohawk tribe, integrating into culture
1759 Leaves Mohawk tribe at around 17 years old
Total time with Mohawk Approximately 4-6 years

Ian’s Mohawk upbringing shaped his character and attitudes in profound ways. Here is a summary of some of the key impacts:

Linguistic fluency

Ian became fluent in speaking the Mohawk language during his years living with them.

Cultural knowledge

He gained deep knowledge of Mohawk rituals, customs, religion, and daily life.


Ian mastered hunting, fishing, and wilderness survival skills while with the Mohawk.


He developed sympathy for the Mohawk perspective and respect for Native American culture.


Though he rejoined colonial society, Ian retained a strong identification with and fondness for the Mohawk.

In the 1750s, the Mohawk and other Iroquois tribes were under increasing pressure from colonial expansion into their lands. Ian witnessed some of these conflicts firsthand during his years living with the Mohawk. When he returned to the colonies, Ian used his unique position to advocate for better treatment of Native Americans. Despite facing prejudice over his Mohawk background, Ian remained proud of his early childhood with the tribe.

In conclusion, Ian’s approximate 4-6 years living as Mohawk immersed him in the tribe’s culture and worldview at a formative time in his life. This unusual upbringing shaped Ian into a more open-minded and empathetic mediator between the colonists and Native American tribes like the Mohawk. He stands out as a colonial figure who truly straddled two worlds at a time of growing conflict and animosity between those worlds.

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