TEKARIHOKEN (Tegarihogen, Tegarioguen, Teharihogen, Teharihoguen, Thearihogen), title of one of the sachems, or hereditary chiefs, of the Mohawks. This chief belonged to the Turtle clan and Horatio Hale says he was respected as “the first chief of the eldest among the Iroquois nations.” Hale suggests that the name means “holding two offices”; this would be especially appropriate since Tekarihoken, unlike most of the other sachems, was both a civil and a military leader. L. H. Morgan gives the title in its Seneca form Dagäeogä, and suggests that it means “Neutral” or “the Shield.”
A chief by the name of Tekarihoken is mentioned frequently by the French between 1653 and 1659, a period of almost continuous Iroquois guerilla warfare against them and their Indian allies. In 1653 Tekarihoken led one of the Mohawk war parties that sought to avenge the killing of chief Aontarisati in Trois-Rivières the year before. His appears to have been the band that seized Father Joseph-Antoine Poncet* de La Rivière: near Sillery on 20 Aug. 1653. While Father Poncet was taken back to Iroquoia, Tekarihoken remained behind and attacked Trois-Rivières on 23 and 24 August. When his party was overtaken by the French who had set out from Quebec to rescue Father Poncet, Tekarihoken agreed to exchange the cleric for some Mohawks who were being held at Montreal. To assure Father Poncet’s safety, Pierre Boucher, governor of Trois-Rivières, offered Tekarihoken a number of presents. Tekarihoken set off for the Mohawk country and in October Poncet was returned to Montreal.
Since the destruction of Huronia, the Mohawks, Onondagas, and Oneidas had been trying to persuade the Huron refugees who were living in Quebec under the cover of Fort Saint-Louis to join their respective tribes. In May 1657, Tekarihoken visited Quebec to ask that the Hurons living there be permitted to resettle among the Mohawks. Tekarihoken’s negotiations led to the departure of 14 Huron women and some children for the Mohawk country on 2 June.
In January 1658, a letter from Father Simon Le Moyne* arrived at Quebec saying that an Iroquois war-party of 1,200 men, under Tekarihoken’s leadership, had set out for the territory of the Ottawas. This raid was to avenge the death of 30 Iroquois who had been killed the year before. In November, Tekarihoken and five other Mohawk envoys arrived at Quebec with Father Le Moyne. There they completed the exchange of seven Frenchmen they had recently taken prisoner for some Oneidas who had been imprisoned at Quebec. The Frenchmen had been left at Trois-Rivières.
In January 1659, Tekarihoken was reported to be with Father Le Moyne at Trois-Rivières and in April he was hunting on the islands in Lac Saint-Pierre. At that time he returned Mitewemeg and several other Algonkian prisoners to Trois-Rivières. This eventually resulted in the release of four Iroquois prisoners held at Quebec. In May, Father Simon Le Moyne left Trois-Rivières with Tekarihoken on one of his many peace missions to the Mohawks.
It seems highly unlikely that the Tekarihoken referred to in the Jesuit Relations is the same Tekarihoken who was living in Sault-Saint-Louis (Caughnawaga) in 1726. It was reported that year that a chief of the Indians of Sault-Saint-Louis who bore that title attended a meeting at Albany between William Burnet, the governor of New York, and the Iroquois chiefs. At that meeting the governor offered presents to the Iroquois in the hope of persuading them to pull down the post that the French had constructed at Niagara in 1720. Belts of wampum also were sent perhaps by the hand of Tekarihoken to the Iroquois living in Canada to induce them to acquiesce in this. However, the Senecas, on whose land the post was built, refused to demolish it.
In 1728 the same Tekarihoken accompanied Michel Maray de La Chauvignerie on his visit to Oswego and Onondaga. While on this trip La Chauvignerie persuaded Tekarihoken to accompany the local Iroquois on a visit to the British fort at Oswego and to report their discussions. He described Tekarihoken as “a man on whom I place great reliance.”
JR (Thwaites), XXXVIII, XLIII–XLV. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX, 963, 1008. E. J. Devine, Historic Caughnawaga (Montreal, 1922), 210. The Iroquois book of rites, ed. Horatio Hale (Toronto, 1963), 30, 77–78. L. H. Morgan, League of the Ho-dé-no-sau-nee, or Iroquois (Rochester, 1851).
© 1969–2023 University of Toronto/Université Laval
Cite This Article
Bruce G. Trigger, “TEKARIHOKEN,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed June 6, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/tekarihoken_2E.html.
The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:
|Author of Article:||Bruce G. Trigger|
|Title of Article:||TEKARIHOKEN|
|Publication Name:||Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2|
|Publisher:||University of Toronto/Université Laval|
|Year of publication:||1969|
|Year of revision:||1982|
|Access Date:||June 6, 2023|