OHSWEKEN – Reported as a break and enter, the Sour Springs Longhouse was broken into by removing a window on the west side of the building in between 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 1, and 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 2.
Cayuga Chief and speaker for the Wolf Clan Sam General explained that the break in wasn’t the first time the Longhouse had experienced theft.
“It’s just disrespectful. To steal from any longhouse is disrespectful,” said General, mentioning that the wood shack beside the Longhouse was stolen from before as well. He explained that there were five turtle shell rattles, one imitation-wood turtle rattle, three headdresses and a large stuffed sea turtle stolen.
“I heard from people older than me that that sea turtle was here when they were little,” he said.
He explained that the window had been removed and hidden behind the wood shack, and the intruder(s) left behind foot prints leading to where the items were hung. Upon inspection, the intruder(s) did not take a pair of antlers, a mounted deer head, or a child size headdress which left suspicion.
“We think it was someone that has been here before, because they knew what they were after,” said General.
Each of the items hold memories to those that attend and belong to the Longhouse, and are indefinitely considered sacred. The news brought sadness to those on social media, as the effort to support and spread the news began.
“This morning I learned of [an] incident that saddened me very much, someone broke into the Sour Springs Longhouse and stole the Ceremonial Turtle Rattles and a few Head Dresses that hung on the wall. Taken were 4 Turtle Rattles, a mounted Sea Turtle, two Mohawk Headdresses. I hope all the items are returned in their original Condition,” wrote Cam Hill on Facebook, who was with General when inspecting the Longhouse. The post received over 300 shares.
The Six Nations Police encourage anyone with any information on the break in or the whereabouts of the stolen property to contact the Six Nations Police Service at (519) 445-2811 or CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-800-222-TIPS.