View all Stories

Kahkewaquonaby – Sacred Feathers – Peter Jones

June 16, 2023

Kahkewaquonaby - Peter Jones

A very influential and underappreciated historical figure

Kahkewaquonaby was the son of Tuhbenahneequay, who was daughter of chief Wahbanosay of the Credit River community. His father, Augustus Jones was a Provincial Land Surveyor, who was also married to by native ceremony to Sara Tekharihogen, a Haudenosaunee (Mohawk). Raised by his mother, his father enrolled him an in English School, he converted to Christianity at a Haudenosaunee Grand River Anglican Church, then to Methodism.

Kahkewaquonaby was a brick maker, a Methodist minister, a chief and for many years represented the Michi Saagiig (Ojibwas) in colonial society. He was unique—the person best able to comfortably move between the different cultures present in Upper Canada, at a time when the different societies really needed to find a way to work together. In many ways his ideas shaped Ontario.

Kahkewaquonaby advocated Methodism (in a form that was very emotional and frowned upon by colonial Anglican elites), education and learning craft and trade skills, particularly agriculture. Beginning around 1826, Kahkewaquonaby led the conversion of most Michi Saagiig to Christianity. This conversion often complimented rather than superseded existing beliefs.

He lived in a period when rapid change had become inevitable. “Without consultation the newcomers had begun to determine the original inhabitant’s future. For three decades, Peter Jones fought back: to obtain a secure title to the reserves, a viable economic land base for each band, a first-class system of education, and self-government…. Others today fight the political battles that Peter Jones began. Through their voices his message still reverberates.”

To learn more about Kahkewaquonaby, check out his biography:

Sacred Feathers by Donald B. Smith, University of Toronto Press, 1985.

© Copyright 2024 - Maryboro Lodge Museum