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Prince Arthur at Mohawk Chapel 1869

This photograph was taken at the Mohawk Chapel on October 1, 1869, on the occasion of the visit of Prince Arthur, son of Queen Victoria, and future Governor-General of Canada.

During this reception, attended by several hundred men of the Six Nations, the prince was inducted as an honorary Chief of the Six Nations Indians. Chief John Smoke Johnson, Pauline’s grandfather, was appointed as one of two chiefs of the Great Council to conduct the ceremony.

Chief George Johnson, Pauline’s father, acted as interpreter. Chief George Johnson can be seen to the left of the prince, with his face partly obscured by shadow, but with his distinctive mustache and goatee visible. The chiefs and warriors are posed to form an honour guard for the young royal visitor, while the bough above the chapel door suggests the Six Nations Confederacy’s symbolic Tree of Peace.

In Pauline’s book, Legends of Vancouver, she included her account of this famous day, entitled “A Royal Mohawk Chief.” (Ontario Archives, Toronto, #5895)