Mohawk Chapel to become first Indigenous chapel with Royal Coat of Arms

Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks in Brantford will become the first Indigenous chapel to feature a royal Coat of Arms with a large celebration and unveiling expected this September.

Dr. Barry Hill, warden of the Mohawk Chapel, is excited to bring dignitaries to the Chapel this September to celebrate the creation of the royal coat of arms.

The coat of arms features imagery representing both the British and Haudenosaunee to symbolize their relationship together.

“This is unique to this community,” he told Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council last week. “Six Nations is the only (First Nation) with this honour. It has a lot of impact on our relationships going forward.”

The coat of arms features the king’s crown, swords of the apostle Peter, and the Tree of Peace, with the words, “faith, hope and charity” emblazoned on the bottom.

Hill says they’re planning to invite the Governor General to the event and had hoped to invite King Charles, but the monarch is currently putting travel on hold as he focuses on his health.

Hill said instead, they’re inviting the governor general of Canada and lieutenant general of Ontario to the event, who both represent the royal family in Canada, and hope to have a large audience inside the chapel, with an overflow space outside the chapel showcasing a livestream of the event.

The coat of arms ties together “elements of the church, crown and community,” said Hill.

The coat of arms has been in the works for awhile, he said, since at least 2005.

“This has a long history to it,” said Hill.

Coun. Helen Miller made a motion to get the coat of arms installed before the Covid pandemic put the plans on hold.

The chapel committee had found a letter in some files from Buckingham Palace granting the chapel a royal coat of arms in 2005.

It will be framed and hung in the chapel, said Hill.

The chapel committee has set aside this Sept. 29 as the tentative date to celebrate the granting of the royal coat of arms.

They’ve spent about $3,500 so far planning the event but estimate the chapel will need about $10,000 to put it on, said Hill.

He’s also asking for a colour guard and Six Nations Police to be on hand during the event.

“It’s a community event. We should have as many people from the community as well. There might be a cost for security.”

Elected Council said it will discuss the costs at its next finance meeting.

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