Long before any white man set foot in this territory it was the home of the Erie Indians who were also known as the “Cat Nation” because their fierce fighting skills resembled that of the many wild cats that roamed this area. The Erie Nation was a peaceful group of hunters and farmers who lived in quiet harmony until the year 1653 when the Iroquois Confederacy ,also known as the Six Nations, waged war against the Eries.
No one knows for sure the true reason for this war but many believe that the Six Nations, who lived in Northern Pennsylvania and New York, were being crowded out by the colonists and needed to secure new hunting grounds. The Iroquois, armed with guns supplied by the Dutch and English colonists, easily defeated the Eries whose only weapon was the bow and a few poison arrows.
The Eries were pushed west of the Mississippi River and for the next 100 years this area had no permanent residents. The names of the various Indian tribes who later wandered throughout the Mahoning Valley include the Miamis, Mingos, Chippewas, Shawnees, Wyandottes and the Mississaugas, who were of Delaware stock and not warriors but hunters which explains why no permanent villages were established.