Steep yourself in time-honoured traditions of an indigenous culture that’s older than recorded time.
The Burlington area has a rich indigenous history which is celebrated through events and at local attractions.
“Burlington as we know it today is rich in history and modern traditions of many First Nations and the Métis. From the Anishinaabeg to the Haudenosaunee, and the Métis – our lands spanning from Lake Ontario to the Niagara Escarpment are steeped in Indigenous history. The territory is mutually covered by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy, the Ojibway and other allied Nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. We would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit.”
History & Culture
Join in the spectacle of dramatic drums and colourful swirling dress at Joseph Brant Day celebrating Burlington’s first son Mohawk leader, Thayendanegea. Time travel to a reconstructed Iroquoian village at Crawford Lake Conservation Area to learn about and try your hand at customs and crafts. While walking the indigenous trail at the Royal Botanical Gardens, learn about native plants and their uses.
Joseph Brant – Thayendanegea
Joseph Brant was a Mohawk warrior, Christian missionary, a British military officer, Freemason and Burlington’s first citizen. In 1798 George III granted “unto Captain Joseph Brant and his heirs and assigns forever” 3450 acres “at the Head of Lake Ontario”. It was here in 1800, that Joseph Brant built his home overlooking Lake Ontario and Burlington Bay. You can visit the Burlington Historical Society archives at the Central Library to see copies of a hand-drawn map from 1797 which indicates the land given to Joseph Brant and other interesting maps and surveys of Brant’s block.
Joseph Brant Museum
Built between 1937-1938 as a replica of the original home of Captain Joseph Brant, the Joseph Brant Museum is Burlington’s community museum. Through guided tours, exhibits, interactive displays, a hands-on discovery gallery, visible storage, educational programming, and special events, Joseph Brant Museum tells the important story of the historical founding, settlement and development of the Burlington area. The museum also contains a significant collection of costume and costume accessories. The Joseph Brant exhibit features artifacts personally belonging to Joseph Brant during his earlier years before settling in Burlington, as well as a portrait display that discusses the man behind the image. The Royal Canadian Mint issued a commemorative silver dollar in 2007 honouring him. Refer to Museums site for more information.
Crawford Lake Conservation Area and Iroquoian Village
Listen to the spirits sing in rustic longhouses where authentic tools, tanned hides and the curl of smoke will provide you with a glimpse of life in a 15th century Iroquoian Village, located on one of Ontario’s most accurately dated prehistoric archaeological sites. Interpreters on site to answer questions. Call 905.854.0234 for tour times.
Indigenous Trail Royal Botanical Gardens
Starting in the Arboretum near the Nature Interpretive Centre, this Indigenous trail explores plants used by the Anishinaabe peoples, and their connections to culture, language, ecology and history. Download Trail Map