Conference at the Council House
Conference at the Council House is a reproduction of the tower and cupola from the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation’s (MNCFN) historic Council House, situated on the site of Celebration Square in Mississauga. On and around the cupola, 30 bronze cast birds, all based on designs solicited from local community members, meet as witnesses to the re-imagination of history.
Conference at the Council House stands at the entry to the Mississauga Public Library and Celebration Square as a monument to engage the local community in the rich history and diversity of this site. Thirty birds confer on and around a white square tower and cupola that is designed to replicate the tower that tops the historic Council House built 132 years ago on the New Credit reserve in Hagersville – the land the Mississauga people moved to in 1847 from their ancestral home on the Credit River in what is today the city of Mississauga.
The reproduction of the Council House tower and cupola poses the questions: what if the treaties of 1805, 1818 and 1820 regarding the lands around the Credit River had never been negotiated, and the Mississaugas continued to make their home by the Credit River? What if the Mississauga First Nation had built their Council House in 1882 on the land where Celebration Square now sits? The tower stands there as a dream figure, an image of what might have been, and a reminder that we are standing on the Traditional Land of the Mississaugas of the Credit. What if the people 150 years ago had agreed on a treaty of a different kind, a treaty like the artists of the Anishinaabe Ogimaa Makina Project describe that already existed between the Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee, that French and English settlers were welcomed into but ultimately rejected: a treaty that imagines diverse peoples and nations living peacefully together with the understanding that we have obligations of mutual care, to each other and to the land we share (http://ogimaamikana.tumblr.com/). The community of birds flocked around the Council House are there to remind us that this way of living is still possible today. (Quoted from the winning proposal.)