WHO ARE THE MOHAWKS?
Two plaques in a small roadside park near Deseronto describe the Mohawks who landed on the shore of the Bay of Quinte in 1784. The plaques are in the proximity of the landing point where the Mohawks stepped ashore from their canoes.
One plaque tells the history of the Mohawks, the second describes their new community. They are in the vicinity of plaques commemorating the Mohawk Heritage Trail, just a few metres away on the other side of the highway.
GPS location: 44° 11’ 01.52” N 77° 04’ 14.54” W (44.18361111, 77.0705556)
Street address: Bayshore Road, west of Deseronto
PLAQUE TEXT 1:
Who are the Mohawks?
We are “Kanyen’keha:ka”, meaning People of the Flint. We are part of the “Rotinonhson:ni”(meaning “they build houses”) or Six Nations Confederacy. The nations share languages, cultures and traditional lifeways, including agriculture (especially the growing of corn, beans and squash), harvesting (gathering, hunting, & fishing), and extensive trading partnerships. Clan and identity are traced through the nation, the Confederacy, and often outside the Confederacy. In the traditional system, the chiefs of “Royaner” (meaning “caretakers of the peace”) were selected by the senior women of the lineages, or clan mothers, and could be removed by them. In decision-making, all people have a chance to speak and actions are taken when consensus is reached. The Mohawks are the easternmost nation of the Confederacy and are know as “the keepers of the eastern door”, with a key role in the defence of the Confederacy. The traditional homeland of the Mohawks, whose descendants founded our community on the Bay of Quinte, is the Mohawk River Valley (in what is now New York State).
Also presented in Mohawk.
PLAQUE TEXT 2:
The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte at Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
Our community was founded primarily by descendants of the Mohawks in the Fort Hunter area in Mohawk Valley. During the American Revolution many of the Fort Hunter Mohawks fought on the side of the British. As allies of the Crown, they were alienated from their traditional homelands in the course & the aftermath of the war. The British Crown had promised recompense for the losses of their allies and offered land to be set aside for them to live in peace and security. They came to the Bay of Quinte in the spring of 1784 to found a new community. In 1793, the Land Committee of Upper Canada authorized the granting of a tract of land, known then as the Mohawk tract, on the Bay of Quinte, about 12 miles wide and 13 miles deep. The land grant, known as Treaty 3 or the Simcoe Deed or Patent, set aside the land for “the Chiefs, Warriors, Women & People of the Six Nations” to be held and enjoyed “in the most free and simple manner and according to the several Customs and usages” of the people of the Six Nations. Today the land of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte is known as Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. “Tyendinaga” means “plecing the wood together”.
Also presented in Mohawk.