Thursday, August 5, 2010
Built by the Crown, it was given to those Mohawk Indians, led by 'Thayendangea" (Joseph Brant), who supported the British during the American Revolution. Their choice cost them their lands in New York.
Through the terms of the Haldimand Treaty of 1784, 'Thayendangea' (Joseph Brant) secured a land grant for the native loyalists which gave them 760,000 acres, six miles, on either side of the Grand River from its source to its mouth. Brant also negotiated for and received the church, now generally known as The Mohawk Chapel.
Mohawks, led by 'Thayendangea' (Joseph Brant), established a village of some 400 inhabitants by 1788. The community was situated at an important crossing point on the river ("Brant's Ford") and prospered as a resting place for travellers on the "Detroit Path", a trail linking the Niagara and Detroit rivers.
Increasingly, European settlers encroached on Six Nations' lands. In 1841 the government broke the treaty and took back the land, moving the Grand River Iroquois to a section of the land south of the river. Of the Mohawk Village, only the chapel remains.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
At the age of 31 rather than marry and have children, 'Tekahionwake' toured Canada, New England, and parts of England. She gave recitations of her poetry, performed comedy routines and staged plays. Even her performances reflected her 'double life' as she would often begin them wearing a ball gown, and end them in Native dress. Johnson was the first Native poet to have her work published in Canada. She was also one of the few female writers of the period who made a living from her written and performance work.
I stow the sail, unship the mast:
I wooed you long but my wooing's past;
My paddle will lull you into rest.
O! drowsy wind of the drowsy west,
By your mountain steep,
Or down where the prairie grasses sweep!
Now fold in slumber your laggard wings,
For soft is the song my paddle sings.
The Pauline Johnson Archive, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
Brant, Beth. Writing as Witness: Essays and Talk. Toronto: Women's Press, 1994.
Photographs Copyright: National Archives Canada; J. Geraghty-Gorman; Vancouver Ventures: J. Geraghty-Gorman