Old plays at Sour Springs Forest Theatre

Posted on December 6th, 2019 by in History Read 2466 Times.

This play for 1989, at the Forest Theatre on Sour Springs Road, was native history told from a native perspective. Some Of the episodes depicted have never before been seen in print. They come from the oral history of the Six Nations. The play covers the trouble period after the Six Nations Iroquois were uprooted from their ancient tribal lands during the American Revolution, up to the present time.

It was called “The New Beginning” because after living prosperously for hundreds of years in the Finger Lakes region and along the Mohawk River, the Six Nations had to leave their homelands and start anew in the wilds of southern Ontario. The left the vast fields of corn, beans and squash, The Three Sisters. They left fruit orchards, villages and huge fortified buildings the European writers called castles. They came to a land barren of shelter from the elements and already depleted of fur-bearing animals. They were United Empire Loyalists as much as and Scot or Englishman but they have never been called that because they were natives. And they have rarely been treated as U.E.L.s.

One of the lessor known episodes which occurred in the 1840’s is depicted in this years play. When white squatters began encroaching on Six Nations land by the Grand River, the Six Nations Council, which consisted of Chiefs of the Confederacy, appealed to the Canadian government to control their people. Agents were sent out to request the squatters to move but they demanded payment for the building, fences, etc.,that they had put up.

The government decided it would be easier to move the Indians across the Grand River. The squatters were only too happy to assist in this and there are stories passed down by word of mouth of the white squatters driving the Indians across the river with clubs and pitchforks.

This occured along the river south of Brantford, from Cainsville to Onondaga and from Middleport to Caledonia. The Tutelos, who lived at what is now called Tutela Heights, were also driven out in the same fashion. Some of their ceremonies still survive in the Longhouse rituals at Six Nations.

It has been said that those who do not learn from their history are doomed to repeat it. However, before you can learn from it, you have to know what your history was.

FourtyBee is an outlet to publish aerial photos, videos, and stories about the evolution of drone technology, documenting ongoing land encroachments; residential and commercial development. We capture images, videos and stories from landmarks to people, we research the history of Grand River Country (and beyond) from a Mohawk perspective.

This year’s Six Nations Pageant told it like it was.

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Tags: brantford, caledonia, grand river, joseph brant, ohsweken, onondaga, six nations, sour springs road, UE, UEL, united empire loyalist. Want to see all the Tags?