Iroquois People and the American Revolution
In 1771 many Mohawks had to leave their homes in the Mohawk Valley as Europeans began to encroach into their territory. A smallpox epidemic also swept through the area. The American Revolutionary War would only add to this dilemma. Therefore, in 1775, Joseph Brant travelled to England to meet King George III to plead the case of Rotinonson:ni as allies to the Crown. Brant wanted protection of their lands against encroachment but he could only get a promise to address such issues after the War.
After the War, the Mohawks who remained loyal to the British Crown were forced to leave their homeland and relocate to Upper Canada. Through agreements with Sir Frederick Haldimand, lands were reserved for the Native allies as compensation for their loss in the Mohawk Valley. Frederick Haldimand was the Governor of Canada from 1777 to 1786.
Joseph Brant known as Thayendanegea, was a diplomat and warrior who lead his followers across Lake Ontario. He was a member of the Wolf clan, born on the banks of the Ohio River in 1742. Joseph Brant was sent to the Indian Charity School in Connecticut while a teenaged young man. He became a Christian and translated the Bible into Mohawk. Between 1765-1771 Brant acted as an interpreter and engaged in political missions to the western nations. In 1784 after the Haldimand Proclamation was issued Joseph Brant led a group of Six Nations people to what is now Brantford. In 1785 the Mohawk Chapel was built.
Haldimand Treaty of 1784
On October 25, 1784, the Haldimand Proclamation was issued which reserved land, six miles from both sides of the Grand River, from Lake Erie to the source of the River, for the Mohawks and “such others of the Six Nations Indians” who allied themselves with the English in the Revolutionary War and continued to seek the protection of the Crown. The reserved lands amounted to approximately 950,000 acres. Each Nation set up one or two of their own villages along the Grand River. From 1784 to 1785 about 1200 Rotinonson:ni made their way across the Niagara River to their new homes.
Queen Anne Bible and Silver
Queen Anne commissioned the building of Fort Hunter in 1711 which would house a chapel within. She also provided a silver communion service and bible for that chapel along with other furnishings. The Queen Anne silver bears the inscription “The Gift of Her Majesty Anne by the Grave of God of Great Britian, France and Ireland and her plantations on North America, Queen to her Indian Chapel of the Mohawks.” By 1781, the Chapel was plundered by American Revolutionary forces. Prior to that, the Communion service had been removed and buried by Mohawk warriors until after the war when it was retrieved and taken to Upper Canada to be divided between Six Nations and Tyendenaga Mohawk, who settled near Belleville, Ontario.
Rev & Chaplin History
The First Missionaries
|The Rev. John Stuart, Kingston
|The Rev. R. Addison, Niagara on the Lake
|The Rev. R. Leeming, Ancaster
|The Rt. Rev. Chas J. Stewart, D.D., missionary, later the Bishop of Quebec
The Chapel Incumbents
|The Rev. R. Luggar
|The Ven. A. Nelles
|The Rev. R. Ashton
|The Rev. C. M. Turnell, M.A.
|The Rev. H. W. Snell, B.A.
|The Rev. Canon W.J. Zimmerman, M.A. B.D.
|The Rev. John Stables
|The Rev. Norm Casey
|The Rev. Larry Brown
|The Rev. Roselyn Elm
The first Mohawk Institute was started by the New England Company in about 1831 and was located across the road from the Chapel. In 1854, it was transferred to its present location. In 1903, it burned to the ground and was rebuilt in 1904. It was later taken over by the Federal Government of Canada in 1922. It closed as a residential school on June 30, 1970. Soon after, the facility was converted to the Woodland Cultural Centre, housing a library, native language department, museum, art gallery and art collection. The Chapel window called Residential School days shows a time when Indigenous languages and culture were challenged. Government run schools were built across Canada after 1922 were notable for imposing negative experiences. A greater understanding of the impact of the Canadian Residential School system has been documented in the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, issued in 2015.
In 1904, St. Paul’s became known as Her Majesty’s Chapel of the Mohawks. It was given its designation as a Royal Chapel, as a form of recognition for the long-standing alliance between the Rotinonson:ni people and the British, as borne out of the unheralded contributions that the Rotinonson:ni made to the history of Canada.