One Small Place: The Seneca and The Mississauga in Webster, NY
By David P. Mowat, Chief, Mississauga of Alderville First Nation, and Kathy Taddeo, Webster NY Museum Volunteer
The Story of Our Story: Our project all started with a hand-drawn map at the Webster Museum, signed by teacher Marguerite Collins to celebrate the Town of Webster’s centennial in 1940. Kathy, a museum volunteer, saw a notation in the southwest section of the map that read “Mississauga Indian Village” and was confused. She had for years taught her fourth graders that it was the Iroquois who occupied this area. The Mississauga were Canadian… right across Lake Ontario… That was the start of the history mystery. Was the notation accurate? If it was, when did the Mississauga live here? Why did they come here? What was their life like here? Why did they return home? In the course of collecting likely places to find answers, Kathy reached out to the five Mississauga First Nations in Ontario, Canada. Several replies offered interest and encouragement, but all indicated that their people had no knowledge of this place in Webster, New York. One such reply came from Dave Mowat, now chief of the Mississauga First Nation of Alderville and, at the time, Supervisor: Consultation, Lands and Membership for the Mississauga of Scugog Island First Nation... dedicated historian of his people… with a wide knowledge of American history as well as Canadian history… loved a good history mystery. A collegial project was born, across a border as easily traversed by email as it was once by canoe. After years of research, consultation with colleagues and contacts, writing, revision and editing, we are happy to share our story of One Small Place with you.
The complete research on this topic can be found in Chapter 2 at the Webster Museum’s Webster Through The Years website: https://sites.google.com/site/websterthroughtheyears/ There is also a link to the research site at www.webstermuseum.org