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Iroquoian Languages








There are currently seven Iroquoian languages spoken, all of which are found in the U.S.A., and all but Cherokee in Canada. As can be seen from the population table, all the languages except Cherokee and Mohawk are in imminant danger of extinction, and all languages are spoken by less than 10% of their respective nation's population. Despite these alarming figures, all seven nations support language programs both for adults and children, and there is optimism for the future. Furthermore, each of these languages is relatively well documented linguistically, and there is a growing number of educational resources. The “Six Nations” languages (coloured yellow on the population chart) are often grouped together linguistically (as Northern Iroquoian) and politically.

The Six Nations langauges are also similar in that they all use Roman orthography, with certain diacritics (accents) and symbols added to represent sounds not available in the 26 letter Latin alphabet. To see which symbols each language uses, click on “Iroquoian Keyboards” in the box to the right. Cherokee is unique among North American Native languages because of its orthography, a syllabary invented in the historical era by (Sequoyah).

Each of the Six Nations languages except for Mohawk require alphabetic symbols which are not available in most fonts, and which do not occur as distinct glyphs within Unicode. So to type and view these languages on the web, you should download a languagegeek font.

Nation Population Speakers Percentage
Cayuga 10,000 62 0.62%
Cherokee 308,132 22,500 7.30%
Mohawk 35,000 3,433 9.81%
Oneida 14,000 160 1.14%
Onondaga 1,200 17 1.42%
Seneca 15,000 25 0.17%
Tuscarora 1,000 12 1.2%

Population figures from Newsletter of Kanatsiohareke Winter 1998, Cherokee numbers are from the Ethnologue 2000.

Iroquioan Keyboards

Download keyboards for typing in Iroquoian languages. View and print keyboard maps for quick reference. There is also an Iroquoianist keyboard for use by linguists. Cherokee users can get their keyboard here.


There are a number of extinct Iroquoian languages, including: Huron-Wyandot*, Petun, St-Lawrence Iroquois, Neutral, Wenro, Erie, Susquehannock, Nottoway, and Meherrin. There are no keyboards for these. If you use any of these languages and require a keyboard, please email me with details.

* There is an ongoing effort to revitalize Huron-Wyandot.


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Last Update: February 22, 2008