Why we love Six Nations of the Grand River…
Six Nations of the Grand River has the largest population of all the Canadian First Nations, with a total band membership of 25,660, 12,271 of which live within the Six Nations. The Six Nations of the Grand River is the only place in North America where you’ll find all the Haudenosaunee nations living together. These are Onondaga, Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora. The Haudenousanee Confederacy is an alliance that was formed thousands of years ago by a man who was dubbed The Peacemaker because he brought peace to the people of the Haudenosaunee through establishing The Great Law system. He decreed that families would be organized into clans, with each clan’s identity being passed down by the matriarch. Each clan family would have a clan-mother and a cheif, who would manage law, and serve their people.
In the late 1700s, the Six Nations people became allies of the British and for their loyalty were given land along the Grand River, most of which was taken from them. To this day, they only occupy 46,000 acres of that land, which is known as the “Six Nations Reserve No. 40,” located between Brantford, Caledonia, and Hagersville.
Visitors can enjoy a visit to the Chiefswood National Historic Site, the birthplace of the acclaimed Mohawk-English poet, Pauline Johnson. This mansion was built on the Grand River in 1856, with two front doors. One was there to greet Mohawks coming from the river by canoe, and the other faced the road to greet the English coming from Brantford by horse and buggy. Each year members of the Six Nations gather here to celebrate Aboriginal Day in June and their Champion of Champion’s Pow Wow in July. Silo is proud to provide WiFi at the Pow Wow every year!
Another beautiful site is The Mohawk Chapel. Built in 1785, it is one of Canada’s oldest buildings. It is located on the bank of the Grand River atop Six Nations land in Brantford and is the one building that remains of the original Mohawk Village. It is the oldest surviving church in Ontario! Visit to see the glorious stained glass windows, which were designed from the late 50s to the early 60s, and the burial place of historical figures Joseph and John Brant.
Fun fact: The people of the Six Nations lived in huge rectangular homes called “Longhouses” and the name Haudenosaunee actually translates to “they build houses.”