Tyendinaga, Tamils forge ties

It looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

About 130 members of the Scarborough-based Canadian Tamil Congress paid a visit to to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville late last month to learn more about each other’s culture and history.

In between sharing food, music, dance and language, the Tamil visitors and their Mohawk hosts discussed the theme of displacement common to their respective stories.

Most Tamils living in the Greater Toronto Area are recent arrivals to Canada, forced from their homeland of Sri Lanka by war and ethnic strife. Mohawks settled on the Bay of Quinte in 1784 after being pushed off their ancestral lands in New York State after the American Revolution.

Representatives from Tsi Tyonnheht Onkwawenna, a centre in Tyendinaga, and the Canadian Tamil Congress told media that the novel cultural exchange on March 29 and 30 was a great success.

There are already plans in the works for the two groups to meet again – the Tamils will return to Tyendinaga for a re-enactment in May and a pow wow in August, while the Mohawks have been invited to open Tamil Fest, a Scarborough street festival, in late August.

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