Longing for the Familiar

Many years ago I read an article about the archeological discovery of an ancient Iroquoian village site at Crawford Lake. Studying a map I noted that Crawford Lake was very close to Oakville; I decided to make a trip there. I was looking forward to my visit because I needed a break from my work in Oakville and Port Credit. Here was a site that was more than just a mention on a historical marker.

As I approached the site the way I was feeling brought an image to mind. It was an image of visiting a foreign land and missing your homeland. Not speaking the local language and being unfamiliar with the food you sit in a Macdonald's and imagine running into someone from back home.

After parking and packing up my photo equipment, I made my way to the stockade entrance surrounding the village. I read the introductory panels and walked along the corridor. Upon entering the village I noticed several longhouses and had begun making photographs when I was drawn to the central longhouse. As I drew closer I could make out a turtle painted above the doorway.

Link of Interest: "Crawford Lake Conservation Area" just south of the 401, near the town of Milton (Plaque #1)


In the old days, it is said that if you needed a place to stay, you would always be welcomed at a longhouse that had your clan symbol painted above the doorway. Iroquoian speaking people from the Erie, Netural and Huron, to the Five Nations Iroquois living in present New York State, had a clan system and lived in longhouses. I am Onondaga and from the turtle clan and upon seeing the turtle above the longhouse doorway I felt I was now in a familiar place. I walked in and was struck by its smell. It was as if I had stepped into the house where I used to stay on the Six Nations reserve.

I left the Crawford Lake site feeling renewed. But reality came back only a few miles down the road. I noticed a familiar sign along the road. It had a large Indian head with a feather headdress; the site was the Crosswinds Golf & Country Club. I pulled into the driveway and made some photographs of the sign.



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