1. It's huge. No, really. You could get lost here.
I felt like I wandered into a postcard. You know the one, with the house on the hill, big trees lightly dusted with snow, long winding roads. It wouldn't have surprised me if Santa rolled by in a rez car blasting Robbie Robertson or Logan Staats.
2. Six Nations produces a lot of famous people.
Some of them include actors Graham Greene and Jay Silverheels (better known as Tonto); Roberta Jamieson, Canada's first indigenous female lawyer; Stan Jonathan, former NHL player with the Boston Bruins (who was clearing his neighbour's driveway while we were visiting! How cool is that?); famed marathon runner Tom Longboat; and one of my favourite poets, Emily Pauline Johnson.
3. E. Pauline Johnson's house is a national historic site.
The Mohawk poetess and renowned performer was born and raised at Chiefswood, her family homestead. It is a national historic site now, and I was super excited to tour the Victorian-era house with another renowned Mohawk poet — Janet Rogers.
This is where Pauline wrote books like Flint and Feather, and as I sat at her writing desk where she created this work, I got super Indigi-nerd emotional.
4. The Three Sisters — corn, squash and beans are big here. Really big.
They have traditions, ceremonies, stories, recipes, heck even artwork based on the Three Sisters, which the people believe were gifted to them by the Great Spirit.
5. Seeing history in real life.
You may remember from grade 10 history class how the Iroquois Confederacy, led by Joseph Brant, allied with the British during the American Revolution.
For their loyalty, they were granted a tract of land along the Grand River under the 1784 Haldimand Treaty. Iroquois is a French term — they call themselves the Haudenosaunee, or People of the Longhouse. Their clan system follows a matrilineal line; in other words the women are in charge. I like that!
6. Finally remembering all six of the Six Nations.
There are actually six separate nations that make up the people of Six Nations (or 6Nay as the hip locals call it). They are: Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Tuscarora and Seneca, which is harder to remember than you think. Go, ahead, close your eyes and recite them. There will be a quiz later.