SIX NATIONS – There are various interpretations of what has been called “The Mohawk Warrior Flag” or “The Unity Flag”.
Research shows that the flag was created during the mid-1970s by Louis Karoniaktajeh Hall, a Mohawk artist and writer. It initially appeared as a silhouette of a long-haired native male with a sun in the background. On a painting of this flag, entitled “Indian Flag”, Karoniaktajeh explained it’s meaning: “Designed for all Indian nations. Single feather means ‘all of one mind’.
Deganawida wanted all Indians to be under the Great Law of Peace. Equality for all Indian nations.”
It was first used at Ganienkeh, in New York state in the reclamation of that territory by Mohawks in 1974. The flag is also known as the “Ganienkeh Flag” and symbolized “Indigenous unity, nationalism, and resistance”.
According to a research article published in Warrior Publications website, “Karoniaktajeh designed a second version of the flag featuring a warrior with a Mohawk-style haircut. According to the Kahnawake Longhouse, this version was intended for use by the Mohawk Warrior Society and is called the “Mohawk Warrior Flag”’.
He designed a third one using both a male and female profile. The new flag was designed to capture the general indigenous resistance movement, according to Karoniaktajeh at the time. In Kanawake, another modification was made giving the warrior a blue eye.
He never explained that before he passed away and there are speculations that it was a printing error, or that Karoniaktajeh represented himself in his art by giving the warrior blue eyes, as he himself had. Others offer random explanations but there is no evidence at this time to indicate exactly what the artist intended, if anything.
Louis Karoniaktajeh Hall passed away in December, 1993.
“His life may have ended, but may his life’s work and messages live on through this website,” says Karoniaktajeh’s niece, Onen Louise. “May those who remember him, be reminded of his words and art. May those who never knew him, get a glimpse of his greatness. May everyone who visits this website realize that his messages must never be silenced because the very existence of native people – all native people – depends on it.”