- Partner News
- Media Releases
- Mainstream News
July 12, 2023
HOLYROODHOUSE PALACE – The first delegation in over 160 years from the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg Nation (Mississauga Nation) had a meeting with His Majesty King Charles III during a Garden Party held at Holyroodhouse Place in Edinburgh, Scotland.
At the King’s direction, the delegation was the first to be presented to His Majesty during the annual garden party held at the Scottish palace. The meeting lasted for approximately 15 minutes as the King discussed Treaty, the wildfires in Canada, as well as other topics of importance to the delegation. During the meeting the King was shown a replica of The Covenant Chain Wampum (Treaty of Niagara Belt) by Gimaa R. Stacey Laforme, which was the official gift to His Majesty by the delegation.
This historic meeting was arranged through His Majesty’s Chapels Royal, a family of chapels that includes The King’s Anishinabek Sacred Place (Chapel Royal) located at Massey College in Toronto, Ontario. Created by Queen Elizabeth II in 2017, the Chapel Royal at Massey College is rooted in the Treaty of Niagara and Silver Covenant Chain (a relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Sovereign that dates back to the reign of King Charles II). The Covenant Chain Wampum (Treaty of Niagara Belt) gifted by the delegation to the King was one of the key belts used to bring the Mississauga Nation into a Treaty relationship with the Sovereign (then King George III) in 1764.
The Covenant Chain remains the foundational Treaty of what would become Canada.
This was the first meeting of a delegation from the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg Nation (Mississauga Nation) and the Sovereign since Nahneebahwequa (Catherine Sutton) met with Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace on June 19th, 1860. This was the first meeting between Giimag (Chiefs) from the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg Nation (Mississauga Nation) and the Sovereign since Kahkewaquonaby’s (Rev. Peter Jones) meetings with Queen Victoria and King William IV throughout the 19th century.
This historic meeting was part of a larger diplomatic mission by the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg Nation (Mississauga Nation) that included visits to St. James’s Palace, Government of the Isle of Man (including as guests at their national day celebrations – Tynwald Day), Corporation of the City of London, House of Lords, Goodenough College, and the National Liberal Club.
Members of the delegation:
Gimaa Stacey Laforme (Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation)
Gimaa Robert Chiblow (Mississauga First Nation)
Councillor Steven Toms (Curve Lake First Nation)
Professor Chadwick Cowie (Hiawatha First Nation)
Veronica Low (Patron, non-Indigenous)
Nathan Tidridge (non-Indigenous, Chapel Royal)
Rev. Canon Paul Wright LVO, Sub Dean HM Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace
Throughout the 19th century, delegations from the Mississauga Nation (a nation made up of six different communities in what is now Southern Ontario) regularly visited the British Isles, which included visits with the Sovereign.
Since 1860, there have been no delegations from the Mississauga Nation to the United Kingdom. Canada’s Confederation in 1867 largely ended the practice of Indigenous Nations sending delegations to the British Isles. The Indian Act was passed by the Government of Canada in 1876, further restricting the rights of people meant to be kin.
Covenant Chain Wampum (Treaty of Niagara Belt):
The official gift from the delegation to His Majesty The King is a replica of the Covenant Chain of Friendship Wampum which has hung in the The King’s Anishinaabek Sacred Place since 2017.
Once gifted to His Majesty, the replica will be returned to The King’s Anishinaabek Sacred Place at Massey College as a reminder of The King’s familial relationship established with Indigenous Nations at the 1764 Great Council of Niagara.
The original Covenant Chain Wampum was commissioned by Sir William Johnson on behalf of King George III and presented at the conclusion of the Treaty of Niagara in 1764 following over a month of negotiations between the Crown (represented by Sir William Johnson) and at least 24 Indigenous Nations. This Treaty was intended to be the foundation of all future Treaties in the lands that now constitute Canada. At its heart, the Covenant Chain Wampum reflects a relationship that binds the Sovereign as family with the Indigenous Nations of the Great Lakes region. It is meant to be a relationship of equality, respect that continues to this day.
About the Replica
Commissioned in 2014 using a grant from the Ontario Arts Council, the wampum was created by Ken Maracle, a faith keeper of the Lower Cayuga Longhouse (Cayuga Nation). Made by hand using traditional methods on Manitoulin Island and Six Nations of the Grand River, Maracle spent over forty hours threading 10,000 beads onto the sinew to weave the wampum. The replica was donated to the Chapel Royal at Massey College following its creation by Queen Elizabeth II.
The Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg Nation (Mississauga Nation) consists of six communities: Mississaugas of the New Credit, Mississaugas of Alderville, Mississaugas of Scugog Island, Mississauga First Nation, Curve Lake First Nation, and Hiawatha First Nation.
The Steven Low Foundation is honoured to fund the 2023 Mississauga Delegation to the United Kingdom and Isle of Man.