On September 30, 2022, Rev. Helen and Rev. Dr. Bob Smith visited the Taber Hill Ossuary to observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. I asked if Helen could write about her visit to the site with us, and she kindly agreed to share her experience and thoughts.
On Truth and Reconciliation Day, Bob and I visited a spot not too far from our home, the Taber Hill Ossuary, marked by a large stone at the top of an unusual smooth mound. The Iroquois prayer on the east side of the stone is well worth the trip up the Hill. It is on the east side of Bellamy Road, just north of Lawrence. It is not a natural feature. The mound contains the remains of nearly 500 Iroquois buried sometime during the 13th century, well before the settlers from Europe landed on mainland Canada. Six centuries later, corn fields were being bulldozed for new homes and the 401 was making its way around the then-northern limits of Toronto. While digging up earth in 1956 for a 401 overpass and to make way for new housing, the shovel operator noticed human remains in his shovel. The land was quickly declared a cemetery. Remains of an Iroquois village were unearthed close by the Taber Hill site.
As I read the plaque on the large stone, I thought of how the land had been cared for hundreds of years before the settlers came and claimed the land and the colonization of the indigenous people began. It is good to be reminded of this as we seek to move forward together in truth and reconciliation.
Our prayers continue.
—Rev. Chuck Moon
A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, October 8, 2022, edition of Tidbits.