Elaine Wilson attended a celebration of the Royal Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II to pay tribute to the shared history between Europeans and First Nations peoples.
“I came out today to honour both the Queen and the Six Nations,” said Wilson, a Brantford resident. “It is about the heritage that we share.”
Wilson was among about 200 people who attended a celebratory service commemorating the Royal Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II on the grounds of Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks on Sunday afternoon.
The event marked the 60th year of the Queen’s reign. The service included a Mohawk thanksgiving prayer led by Augustus Jamieson, remarks and prayers by Anglican Church of Canada officials and dignitaries, as well as performances by the Soft Shoe Dancers of Six Nations and the Massed Choir of the Anglican Parish of the Six Nations.
Rev. Terry Dance, bishop of Norfolk with the Anglican Church of Canada, said the Mohawk Chapel is a special place to celebrate the relationship between the Crown and First Nations peoples.
“The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II has been celebrated in various ways all around the world because she is one who has touched the hearts of countless millions all around the world,” Dance said. “Clearly, in southwestern Ontario, if the Diamond Jubilee is to be celebrated, what better place to do that than right here at Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks?
“Here at this place, we celebrate the unique relationship between the monarchy and Six Nations. That is a good thing to do.”
Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks is the oldest church in Ontario and the only Royal Chapel in North America.
Constructed by the British Crown in 1785, it was given to the Mohawk peoples led by Joseph Brant, who supported the Crown during the American Revolution.
Bob Johnson of the Six Nations Veterans Association said there is much value in the historic and present relationship between First Nations peoples and the Crown.
“We continue to have a tie with the Crown through her representative, the governor general of Canada,” Johnson said. “Back in the mid-1600s, we welcomed the Europeans…to our shores. We welcomed them with friendship and peace. I would like to think our continued tie with the Crown needs revisiting. It can’t be tarnished, so we can continue on with our true relationship with Queen Elizabeth II.”