Mahican (or Mohican)Indians, a tribe of the Algonquian language family originally living from south-central Vermont in the north to the upper Hudson Valley eastward to the Housatonic River in the south. The Mohegans of Connecticut are another tribe, probably closely related. Both names are varieties of the Algonquian word for “wolf.”
When first encountered by the Dutch in the 17th century, the Mahicans, who then numbered about 3,000, were at war with the Mohawks. Warfare forced the largest group of Mahicans to move from the Housatonic Valley. They settled near Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and came to be known as the Stockbridge Indians. By 1721 another group had moved as far west as the Kankakee River in Indiana, and, in 1730, others joined the Delaware and the Munsee near Wyoming, Pennsylvania. In 1833 the Stock-bridge group moved to the vicinity of Green Bay, Wisconsin. In 1856 a reservation was established for them in Shawano County. Most of the remaining Stockbridge Indians, the only Mahican group to retain their tribal identity, presently live on the reservation.
The Mahican are often confused with the Mohican, a fictional tribe created by American writer James Fenimore Cooper in his novel T he Last of the Mohicans.