Muskoka Road 38 has been officially renamed as Kanien’kehá:ka Iohatátie, a sign of reconciliACTION for Muskoka.
Permanent signage is now in place along Kanien’kehá:ka Iohatátie, the main road travelling through Wahta Mohawk Territory in Bala, marking the final phase of Muskoka’s first-ever road renaming project. A sign unveiling ceremony took place today which brought together partners across Muskoka who contributed to this transformative journey.
“At the end of this month, Wahta Mohawk people and our language will have been in Muskoka for 142 years,” said Wahta Mohawks Chief Philip Franks. “Kanien’kehá:ka Iohatátie brings recognition to Wahta as a Kanien’kehá:ka community in this important time of Truth and Reconciliation. I would like to thank the three parties, Wahta Mohawks, the Township of Muskoka Lakes, and the District of Muskoka, for the collaborative effort in bringing about a lasting change to the area.”
“Renaming this road and having signage in the Mohawk language is another step in recognizing the whole history of Muskoka, said District Chair Jeff Lehman. “For me, it’s been a way to begin to learn the Mohawk language and the history of the Kanien’kehá:ka community. This reflects the enduring presence of the Mohawk people here in Muskoka.”
“Wahta Mohawks have always been wonderful neighbours to those in Muskoka Lakes,” said Mayor Peter Kelley. “This important step in honouring the Mohawk language and community has continued to help foster a strong relationship amongst us. We look forward to continuing to work together to recognize the history in Muskoka Lakes.”
Kanien’kehá:ka Iohatátie: More Than Just a Road Name
The celebration was not just about changing a name and revealing new signs; this project represents a tangible milestone and inspiring learning experience for all involved. The new road name, Kanien’kehá:ka Iohatátie means “Mohawk People Road” and is a reflection of the people and language of the Wahta Mohawk Territory.
It may seem challenging to pronounce, but we invite everyone to embrace the opportunity to learn and understand, it’s a small effort compared to the profound significance it holds. Audio-visual learning supports have been created by Wahta Mohawks First Nation and can be accessed online at https://youtu.be/EHbpyt70Tec.
This collaborative effort, led by dedicated working group members from Wahta Mohawks First Nation, the District of Muskoka and Township of Muskoka Lakes, has not only resulted in the successful renaming of the road, but has also paved a new path forward for future initiatives in Muskoka.
For more information about this road renaming journey, please visit www.engagemuskoka.ca/road38. To learn more about the accomplishments of the Muskoka Area Indigenous Leadership Table (MAILT), please visit www.engagemuskoka.ca/mailt