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Mohawk Village Memorial Park

pavilion and memorial circl

Who We Are

The Mohawk Village Memorial Park is a federally registered not-for-profit organization with charitable status. The Board is voluntary and includes former students of the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School and inter-generational descendants.

Our Organizations History

A group of former students of the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School began meeting informally. Realizing they needed a more meaningful way to address the loss of childhood caused by the residential school experience, collectively this group of survivors believed a memorial park would be an appropriate way to honour the children that attended Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School.

Our Mission

To develop and maintain the Mohawk Village Memorial Park to honour the children who attended the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School, which operated from 1834 to 1970.

Voices of Survivors
We Were Children
The Land Never Hurt Us
Placing the Trauma Where it Belongs
The Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School was a physical presence in the city of Brantford for well over 135 years. Inside these institutions the voices of the children were silenced, abuse was rampant and unchecked. Residential School children learned at a very early age to stay quiet and to endure the abuse and the hostilities inflicted on them.
I was that child.
Some of my earliest memories are playing outside and the fun I had with my siblings while living at Thomas’ Corner at Six Nations of the Grand River. Unfortunately, my dad passed away in 1954 and February of 1957 we were sent to the Mohawk Institute as orphaned children as my mom was unable to care for us.
Like any residential school child, your life is forever changed and there is no escape and no one to help you. The punishment was severe if anyone dared to stand up to institutional authority. Blocking emotional pain was what I did, to tolerate the abuse and find ways to self-protect.
We as children found ways to adapt and survive the reality we were faced with. The resiliency of children to adapt under harsh and brutal conditions is truly amazing. And I will be forever aware, the land never hurt us.
As children we found those safe places outdoors, sometimes to just play as children do, and sometimes it was an opportunity to feed the hunger that was ever present. For the boys it would be forging in the city dump for leftovers, and for the girls it meant creeping along the ground to take an apple from the orchard seen outside the dormitory window. Both acts were high crimes and severely punishable if caught.
I fulfilled my dream of becoming a Registered Nurse and had a 30-year career of helping others heal– I understood their hurt -I just didn’t know how to help myself. As an adult, I was always finding ways to not look back and deal with my own issues. It was more than 50 years later before I began to speak about the abuse I endured at the Mohawk Institute.
It was at that time the shame, hurt and emotional trauma was beginning to surface again. My healing journey gave me a chance to look back at my childhood and realize, I did nothing wrong as a child, it was not my fault. Far too many survivors have carried the shame and guilt of the abuse from the residential school era, not realizing it was not theirs to carry.
Voices of the Generations – Remembering and Understanding History
Together Let’s Build a Future
The healing journey for survivors has been long and lonely. Our voices, our truths are now being heard.
It is the vision and mission of survivors and their descendants to develop the Mohawk Village Memorial Park on five acres of land -which was the former girls’ playground of the Mohawk Institute. Moving forward the memorial park will represent a place of healing where we can all gather in peace and friendship, listen and learn from each other.
Let the Memorial Park be more than a whisper in the winds. Let it be a legacy as we remember the children and what they endured. May we together in our humanity, honour the Trust, Innocence and Grace of those students who attended the Mohawk Institute for over seven generations.
Please help us create a space for their voices to be heard. The Mohawk Village Memorial Park is a non-profit charity which has had an investment of $800,000 to date. The early phase of the pavilion and walking circle are in place.
There is a fundraising goal of $5,000,000.
We look forward to working together to complete the Legacy of Trust, Innocence and Grace.
Yours in healing the past,
Roberta Hill
Board Chair
Mohawk Village Memorial Park
Voices of Survivors

Memorial Park Concept Design Video