Honouring Dr.O with Beth Bruder

Honouring Dr.O with Beth Bruder

Posted on December 13 by Kyle
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Growing up in Belleville, Ontario close to Tyendinega, Mohawk country, it was not until I went to high school and met the students from Tyendinega that I was aware of this First Nation so close by. Even then I knew little of Mohawk culture or their contribution to Canada. History taught in 1960s Ontario high schools was British, American and little else. A missed opportunity.

I can’t say that I was any more educated or enlightened about First Nations people as I grew older.

I was sometimes perplexed by the tangle of issues, and made the erroneous assumption that First Nations people had the same freedoms and opportunities I did. Increasingly, I am finding that is not the case and that the rules that applied to them were not the same ones that applied to most Canadians.

This is why, when Dundurn had the opportunity to publish this important history of an incredible Mohawk chief, I was thrilled.

 I first heard of Dr. Oronhyatekha (Dr. O) from Keith Jamieson, from Six Nations Brantford, when he brought the story to Dundurn. Keith was instrumental in mounting a successful exhibition on the life of Dr. O at the Royal Ontario Museum. He knew a book was the next important step in making sure the story of Dr. O was widely known. Keith is passionate about this story, and worked closely with Tyendinega and Six Nations to capture and preserve a rich oral history to pass on to future generations.

"It is impossible to capture in a few words his international reputation..." 

Dr. Oronhyatekha was a Mohawk chief born at Six Nations and raised in Tyendinega. Dr. O is a man who straddled two cultures and was successful in both. He can be called a Victorian renaissance man who rose to prominence in many fields, including medicine, sports, politics, business, and social reform. As a Mohawk leader, he lived by the creed of security, justice, and equality, and brought those values with him in all he accomplished.

It is impossible to capture in a few words his international reputation as a leading scholar, doctor, and humanitarian. He counted Sir John A. Macdonald and Theodore Roosevelt as friends. This is why you must read the book about this most incredible man.

On Saturday Nov. 12, 2016 I was honoured to attend the launch of Dr. Oronhyatekha: Security, Justice and Equality, by Keith Jamieson and Michelle Hamilton at the Kahniote library in Tyendinega, the place Dr. O called home.

In attendance were Chief Maracle, Edith Green, a descendant of Dr. O, and many others who contributed their oral history of Dr. O to the book and came out to honour him.

Keith Jamieson and co-author Michelle Hamilton gave an inspiring presentation about Dr. O’s life and accomplishments.

The biography of Dr. O is a truly inspiring look at an extremely accomplished man.