Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Mohawk Landing Ceremony in Tyendinaga will proceed via special broadcast on Loyalist College’s campus radio station, 91X FM, to commemorate the landing of the Mohawk people in Tyendinaga in 1784.
Paul Latchford, Manager of the Indigenous Resource Centre at Loyalist College, said that the Ceremony has importance beyond marking a historical date.
“At its heart, the Ceremony is about the importance of our relationships. Alliances and treaties were made between Indigenous people, the Crown and the Loyalist settlers. These are binding agreements of peace, friendship and respect that we continue to live by today and it is important that we take the time to acknowledge that,” said Latchford. “We all have a responsibility to each other and the land we share.”
Given current restrictions around physical distancing, organizers needed to change their approach to the event, which usually includes a gathering, meal and re-enactment with participants travelling across the Bay of Quinte by canoe. Instead, Loyalist’s campus radio station will provide a personal platform for the Ceremony. This weekend, Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24, 91X FM will broadcast the message of Chief R. Donald Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte at noon each day.
“While gathering together isn’t an option right now, it is important not to give up on the Ceremony altogether,” said Deiana Gonyea, Indigenous Services Assistant at Loyalist, who helped connect the MBQ event organizers with Loyalist’s campus radio. “Elders are the keepers of Indigenous knowledge and history, but they are also part of the population more vulnerable to the virus. We wanted to find a way to honour that history while also continuing to protect the most vulnerable.”
Chief Maracle’s message includes information on the history of the Mohawk presence in the Bay of Quinte area, and the alliance between the Mohawk and the British Crown that led to the Mohawk landing at Tyendinaga.
“It’s great to be able to access Loyalist College’s radio station to air the Chief’s words because it will make his message more accessible,” said Gonyea. “The listening area for 91X extends through the whole of Tyendinaga, and the radio format allows those who don’t have high speed internet connections to participate.”
Tune in to 91X FM at 12 pm on Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24 to hear Chief Maracle’s message.