Our professional soccer club, previously known as the Impact, has changed identity.
The promotional video to explain it to us was in French, English and Mohawk.
In lots of other circles that care about looking good, Montreal is sometimes bluntly presented as “unceded Mohawk territory”.
As the conspirators say, I “did my research”.
It’s simple: there is not a single serious historian who supports this idea of a Mohawk presence on the island of Montreal when the city was founded.
This ritornello is that of activists.
Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve founded Montreal in 1642.
Which natives live on the island at this time? None, although some came there to hunt … but not the Mohawks.
Had any natives ever lived on the island? Yes, since Jacques Cartier, about a century before, talks about it.
But they were Iroquoians.
What happened between Cartier and Maisonneuve that would explain their disappearance from the island? Historians have assumptions, but no certainty.
Today’s Mohawks say these Iroquoians are their ancestors, but these Iroquoians did not speak the same language. Hmm …
Where are the Mohawks during this time?
They are at home in the north of what would become New York State, where the city of Albany is today.
They wage war on other Amerindian nations to keep their monopoly on the fur trade with the Dutch, who arrived in New York long before the British.
During these wars fought against the Mohicans, the Algonquins, the Attikameks, the Innu, they will certainly make incursions here, but return home afterwards.
Of course, a few were captured. They either became slaves or, if they were children, could be “adopted” by parents from another nation.
Among them, several were converted to Christianity by missionaries.
It was missionaries from France who founded Kahnawake in 1667 and Kanesatake in 1705, long after the founding of Montreal.
Akwesasne did not see the light of day until 1750.
Next came the War of Independence of the United States, which began in 1775 and ended in 1783.
The Mohawks are choosing the wrong side: that of Great Britain.
After the victory of the Americans, their position becomes very uncomfortable.
They are leaving the territory altogether. Many sell their land and come to settle here.
Montreal then existed for more than a century.
In short, the Mohawks of Quebec today are the descendants of those Mohawks who came from elsewhere, driven out by wars between natives and between whites.
These are the facts.
Much remains unknown, but the bottom line is that the Mohawks weren’t there when Montreal was founded.
This does not mean, of course, that all their claims or the wrongs suffered should be dismissed out of hand.
Why then continue to maintain a fiction?
They do it to give themselves a political balance of power.
Non-natives do it out of ignorance, political correctness, or both.