The Mohawk Landing Celebration returns again in person this year and will take place on Sunday, May 22. More details are available on our events calendar.
THE LANDING OF THE MOHAWKS
The ancestral homeland of the Kanyen’keha:ka (Mohawk) people was along the banks of the strategic Teyonontatátye River (Mohawk River) of present day New York State. According to the Rotinonhsyon:ni (People of the Longhouse) creation story, the world was created on the back of the turtle and Indigenous people have been here since time immemorial. Modern archaeology can only confirm presence of Kanyen’keha:ka as early as the 12th century.
The Kanyen’keha:ka are considered the easternmost Nation within the Rotinonhsyon:ni Confederacy, and as such are referred to as the Keepers of the Eastern Door.
The Confederacy formed between 1142-1450CE (there is disagreement about the date) consisted originally of the Kanyen’keha:ka, Onyota’a:ka (Oneida), Onöñda’gega’ (Onondaga), Gayogohó:no’ (Cayuga), and Onöndowága (Seneca) Nations. In 1722, the Skarū’ren’ (Tuscarora) migrated north from North Carolina and were adopted by the Rotinonhsyon:ni, then becoming known as the Six Nations Confederacy.
Our ancestors originally came from Tiononderoge (beside Fort Hunter) village. They were longstanding military allies of the British Crown during the series of Colonial wars between Britain and France leading up to the American Revolution.
Although the official position of the Rotinonhsyon:ni at the onset of the Revolutionary war was neutrality, the British spent a lot of effort to persuade the Rotinonhsyon:ni to join the war. War chiefs advocated that our ancestors join the British side as the war quickly expanded into Kanyen’keha:ka homelands.
One of the many promises made to our ancestors by the British to gain their support was that their homeland would remain in Rotinonhsyon:ni hands at the end of the war. During the American Revolution, the Fort Hunter Mohawks were relocated to Lachine, Quebec in 1777. As they had in Mohawk Valley for centuries, they continued their own way of self-governance as part of the Six Nation Confederacy.
A RETURN TO THE BAY OF QUINTE
After travelling by canoe from Lachine, led by Captain John Deserontyon, our ancestors arrived on the shores of the Bay of Quinte on May 22, 1784. About 20 families, approximately 100-125 people, were met by Mississaugas who lived in the area.
It is our tradition to mark the anniversary of the Landing with a re-enactment of landfall, and a thanksgiving for the safe arrival of our ancestors.