Category Archives: Onkwahwentsiyo

Mohawks Revealing Their Hidden History

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The Kanatso:ronon are members of the Kanienkehaka Nation, whose traditional territory includes, and is not limited to, the geographical region of Ottawa, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec. 

The Kanienkehaka of Kana:tso have obtained archaeological evidence, as well as documented records of past events and times that support the assertion of Indigenous, property, and civil rights. 

Woodland Pottery Shards: Yakowennahskats

Before written history, legal and living memory, the Kanatso:ronon hunted and harvested on their inherited geographical hunting grounds. The Kanienkehaka of Kana:tso were an organized society of Indigenous families who inhabited and controlled their Indian village.

The Kana:tso village is recorded historically and furnished medical supplies by the Department of the Secretary of State, “Indian Branch.” The historical rights bearing village precedes and followed petitioned Indian Reserves, a creation of the Crown under the Indian Act. 

The Kana:tso habitation was last recorded on the north shore of the Ottawa River, south of Laurier Ave, adjacent to their ancestral burial ground in Gatineau, Quebec. The village burial ground was unearthed and desecrated in 1843, slighting its spiritual significance to nation members.

Disbanded?

Canadian law stripped the community of identity through disbandment to support advancing European settlement. The Provincial Court set an eviction date for Apr 15, 1903. 

The Crown of England was entrusted with the fiduciary responsibility to protect the nation’s rights, interests, and inherited land at Kana:tso. Unsurprisingly, the Crown failed to protect the vested interest of these Mohawks. 

After disbanding, the community struggled to continue culturally and spiritually and have their fundamental rights acknowledged. Subsequently, certain afflicted Kanatso:ronon moved blocks away in the Township of Hull, while others remained adjacent to the Ottawa River on the property of the Kana:tso village. 

Hidden in Plain Sight

The historical habitation of Kanatso:ronon now supports Jaques Cartier Park and the Museum of History and is presently controlled by the National Capital Commission. The historical hunting grounds of the Kanatso:ronon now supports the present-day cities of Ottawa, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec.

Photo provided

Joseph Cole, pictured above, was an identified Kana:tso community member who was born in the Indigenous village circa 1872, following an exceedingly severe epidemic of Smallpox, just a few years after that confederation. 

Cole was raised by kin Kanatso:ronon in Hull and learned much about his traditional lands. After the nations disbanding in 1903, Joseph Cole, his wife, and his offspring continued to live at his residence south of Laurier Ave, adjacent to the Ottawa River.

We’re Still Here

Cole shared a collective inherited right through the traditional customs of his ancestors, including culture, righteousness, and land at Kana:tso.

Jason Arbour

My name is Jason (Rotisken’rakehte) Arbour, Appointed Chief and Legal Representative of Kana:tso Kaniengehaga First Nation. In 1903 my family/band was disbanded from our Indian reserve and place of origin at Gatineau, Quebec. To date, I have been chosen to raise awareness and respectfully represent our community’s legal interest to re-establish our historical rights to our traditional territory at the Chaudiere Falls. 
I am indigenous to the Ottawa-Hull region of Canada. I was born and raised in Ottawa and happily married with five boys and two grandaughters.