, also known as Sosé Onasakenrat
(September 4, 1845 – February 8, 1881) was a Mohawk
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...
chief of Kanesatake.
Onasakenrat (meaning Swan
or White Feather
) was born near Oka, Quebec
. In 1860, he entered the Petit Séminaire de Montréal where he studied for the priesthood for about four years. He returned to Oka and joined the local Sulpician seminary as secretary.
Onasakenrat was elected chief of the Mohawk community on July 25, 1868. Almost immediately, the new chief travelled to Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...
to meet with the Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Onasakenrat petitioned the government to return land to the Mohawks which was, at the time, held by the Sulpicians. He accused the seminary of exploiting the natives and of intentionally keeping them impoverished. The seminary threatened to excommunicate anyone involved in the petition, prompting Onasakenrat, along with most of the Mohawk community, to leave the Catholic Church and convert to Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...
On February 18, 1869 he confronted the Sulpicians again when he challenged their authority over the land by cutting down a large elm
Elms are deciduous and semi-deciduous trees comprising the genus Ulmus in the plant family Ulmaceae. The dozens of species are found in temperate and tropical-montane regions of North America and Eurasia, ranging southward into Indonesia. Elms are components of many kinds of natural forests...
tree without permission. One week later, backed by an armed band of forty men, Onasakenrat demanded that the Sulpicians leave Oka within eight days. The priests refused to leave, and instead obtained a warrant for his arrest. Montréal police arrived and arrested the group, although they were released a few days later.
In 1877, Onasakenrat was charged after the Catholic Church in Oka was destroyed by fire in the early morning of June 14. At the time, the Mohawk were engaged in a dispute with the white settlers over logging rights, and a group of Protestant Mohawks were accused of starting the fire. The group was tried quickly, and found not guilty by a jury.
A devoutly religious man, Onasakenrat became an ordained minister in 1880, and worked to translate religious works into the Mohawk language. He translated the Gospels (1880) and several hymns. At the time of his sudden death in 1881, he was working on a translation of the remainder of the Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...
, having completed up to the Epistle to the Hebrews
The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the books in the New Testament. Its author is not known.The primary purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews is to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and his...