Hochelaga Rock

Traditional territories were situated on the island of Montreal, known in Mohawk as Tiohtiá:ke — "where the People split or parted ways."

Evidence of Mohawk Territory

At the left of the Roddick Gates stands the Hochelaga Rock, established by Parks Canada to commemorate the Iroquois settlement that stood on the very land that McGill sits on today.

Hochelaga RockIn 1860, as workmen were busy gathering fill for construction sites at the corner of Metcalfe and Burnside, currently known as de Maisonneuve, they began finding unusual objects. As they dug, the men discovered fragments of human and animal remains, ash and charcoal from cooking fires, soil stains made by large wooden house posts and broken pottery. These discoveries were brought to the attention of Sir John William Dawson, a distinguished geologist and principal of McGill, which led him to believe that they had uncovered traces of Hochelaga, the Iroquoian village visited by Jacques Cartier in 1535.

Source: The Dawson Archaeological Site: An Overview by Moira T. McCaffrey and Bruce Jamieson

Excerpt from Kaniatarowanenneh, River of the Iroquois

The Aboriginal History of the St. Lawrence River

By Darren Bonaparte


“The region’s first European explorers encountered the “St. Lawrence Iroquoians” as they made their way up the mighty St. Lawrence. Jacques Cartier visited two major settlements of these "St. Lawrence Iroquoians" at what is now Quebec City and Montreal in 1535. His observations tell us a great deal about these people. Like their cultural cousins, the Huron and Iroquois, they lived in bark longhouses surrounded by multiple rows of palisades and extensive gardens.

When Samuel de Champlain came to the area in 1603, the great villages that Cartier visited were gone. The mystery of what happened to these people has puzzled historians, archaeologists, linguists, and anthropologists for generations. The latest theories suggest they were absorbed by the Hurons, as either captives or as refugees, although there is evidence that a few of them ended up among the Iroquois, particularly in Mohawk country.”

 

Read more: http://www.wampumchronicles.com/kaniatarowanenneh.html


McGill University is situated on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka, a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst nations. We recognize and respect the Kanien’kehà:ka as the traditional custodians of the lands and waters on which we meet today.

Click here for more information on land acknowledgements.


Back to top