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The Landing of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte

The Landing of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte

Every year on the May long weekend, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte mark the anniversary of the Landing on the shores of the Bay with a re-enactment of landfall, and a thanksgiving for the safe arrival of their ancestors. Read on to learn about the history and why this significant event is honoured year after year.

The 2024 Mohawk Landing event will take place on May 19, marking the 240th year. Click here for more event details. 

Written by The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte

Read time: 2 min
a group of Mohawk people dressed in regalia holding a canoe and walking on grass towards the water for the Mohawk Landing celebration.

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.

a Gustoweh headdress (traditional Haudenosaunee hat with feathers on top) sitting on the edge of a canoe
A group of Mohawk people wearing ribbon shirts and other regalia holding a canoe and walking on grass away from the water for the Mohawk Landing celebration.

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.

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.

The Mohawk Landing is free to attend and all are welcome. Click here for more event details. 

Several people in canoes paddling on to the shore of a bay
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A collection of all our stories from the BOQ

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Let’s see what we got!

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The Bay of Quinte RMB Land Acknowledgement

The Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board is committed to acknowledging, appreciating and understanding the Indigenous peoples’ historic connection to this land and to raising awareness by building relationships in collaboration with Indigenous partners and communities. 

We recognize and acknowledge that we are living and working on the traditional territory of the Wendat, Mississauga, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee which includes the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte) with whom we work in direct partnership with. 

This partnership focuses on the common goal of celebrating the region with the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka who are equal partners within the organization and at the Board of Directors table contributing to the mandate and operations.

This mandate includes listening to, learning from, and collaborating with the Kenhtè:ke Kanyen’kehá:ka and actively incorporating their culture and heritage into the practice of responsible destination marketing and management of the region.

We understand that this land acknowledgement is only a small step towards the larger process of reparations and reconciliation.

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