Mush Hole to be declared historic site by Elected Council

A representative from the Woodland Cultural Center, a few residential school survivors and their supporters went before Elected Council last week to ask them to designate the old Mush Hole a Six Nations historic site, something that has never been done before. Elected Council has already promised to provide $220,000 to the restoration of the roof but the total cost is closer to one million. Fundraising is currently in the works to come up with the rest of the money. 

According to Museum Director, Paula Whitlow, the Mush Hole was built in 1832 and closed in 1969 at which point it became the Woodland Cultural Center. This would mark the first time that Elected Council has ever designated anything to be a Six Nations historic site.

One councilor was opposed to the idea. Roger Jonathan said regarding the ‘saving the building campaign,’ there is no access to floors at the Mush Hole other than the elevators. “The point is to have people come and look at the building, to take a tour. I personally don’t like the idea because I had family that went there and none of them want to save it.”

Whitlow stated that the two side pieces of the Mush Hole were added on in the 1970’s and, “There could be modifications done. It would be more of a commemorative nature because there is no other residential school that has been designated a historic site.”

Councilor Melba Thomas asked Whitlow how many people actually supported the idea of saving the Mohawk Institute. “Out of all the questionnaires that were sent out, 497 were returned and out of that, 7 want it torn down.”

One residential school survivor told council, “This was the first residential school in Canada and it is also the first Mohawk Village site. This is our history so we don’t need anyone to tell us it’s a historic site.”

Elected Chief Ava Hill agreed, “In a way, we’re saving the evidence. The residential school is a dark history yes but it’s also a reminder to Canada, ‘look what you did to us.’”

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