For the first time since the pandemic was declared in 2020, Six Nations was back together again in one of the largest and most beloved annual gatherings in the community: the 2022 Bread and Cheese celebration.
The annual Victoria Day celebration saw thousands descend on the Six Nations Sports and Cultural Memorial grounds to get their hands on chunks of cheese and bread, a tradition going back in the community for 100 years.
The scaled-down event, with a smaller midway and parade, saw a few glitches as the event ran out of cheese a half hour into the festivities, and hundreds of loaves of leftover bread were being given away, with some going to the Six Nations Food Bank.
There were also complaints of stale bread and volunteers being treated poorly but Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council, who organizes the event, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
“We’ve gotten back to that sense of normality this year. We’ve had a very challenging few years with the pandemic. It’s very nice to be back and see everybody.”
Organizers conducted deliveries to various homes around the community, as well, mostly elders and homebound people, including Six Nations’ long-term care home Iroquois Lodge.
There some complaints on social media that home deliveries were still not complete by press time.
“We had over 1,200 home deliveries,” said Chief Hill. “We’re seeing challenges but we’re making it through with all the volunteers. This could not be possible without all of the volunteers.”
Longtime volunteer, the late Tom Montour was publicly recognized by Chief Hill during opening remarks at the arena on Monday. Montour has volunteered at the Bread and Cheese event for over 40 years and he was gifted posthumously with a cornhusk doll dressed in traditional Haudenosaunee regalia to recognize his dedication and hard work.
The Chief also held a moment of recognition for all the community members lost to the Covid-19 virus over the past two years.
“We’ve been through a tough time. I want to recognize and honour all of those we have lost to Covid. Keep them in our hearts, keep them in our minds as we move forward.”