Maanjidowin: The Gathering

The Maanjidowin sculpture, which sits at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on the dock wall overlooking the Western Gap, was commissioned by PortsToronto in recognition of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and their relationship to the land, air and water on which Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport now operates. The sculpture features three mythical fishers – Mukwa-kwe (Bear), Nigig-kwe (Otter) and Migizi-kwe (Eagle) – who have come to the estuaries and islands along Toronto’s Lake Ontario shoreline to fish.

The canoe in which the fishers sit is inscribed with words and symbols of significance to the Mississaugas of the Credit, including the Medicine Wheel and the Seven Grandfather Teachings, which are guiding principles that provide the moral and cultural foundation of life.
The sculpture was created by David M. General, Mohawk Nation, Wolf Clan of the Six Nations, who is known for blending Indigenous and modernist styles and typically working with stone.

Artist David General puts the final touches on the sculpture. 

Who Are the Mississaugas of the Credit?

The Mississaugas, part of the Ojibway Nation, arrived in this area during the late 17th century. A seasonally migrant people, they erected their wigwams on the flats of rivers and creeks flowing into Lake Ontario. One river in particular, the Credit, was a favourite for hunting, fishing, trading, and spiritual purposes. Salmon, a main source of food, was harvested by torchlight during the spring and fall fisheries. After the spring fishery, the people would disperse throughout their territory to harvest seasonally available resources. At the onset of winter, the Mississaugas moved inland away from the lake to live in family hunting camps.


A Time of Change

The signing of various treaties with the British Crown led to the erosion of the Mississaugas of the Credit land base and the collapse of their traditional way of life. Oncoming settlers had depleted much of the resources needed by the Mississaugas to survive and had subjected them to new diseases that devastated their population. Fearing extinction, the Mississaugas, with the help of Kahkewaquonaby (Rev. Peter Jones), transitioned from hunters and gathers to successful farmers at the Credit River Mission Village between 1826 and 1847. The energetic Mississaugas were able to fence and cultivate 900 acres of crops and also raise pigs, cows, and chickens. The people prospered in their village and escaped extinction that had seemed imminent only a few years before.

For more information on the land treaties, please click here


Mississaugas of the Credit Today

Facing the encroachment of settlers and unable to get title to their lands at the Credit River Mission Village, the Mississaugas left their homes in 1847 and relocated to 6,000 acres of land near present day Hagersville, Ontario. Since their arrival at “New Credit” the Mississaugas have continued to prosper and the current population of the community consists of 2,700 members. The Mississaugas of the Credit plan for the future includes “a strong, caring, and connected membership that respects the earth’s gifts and protects the environment for future generations.” Having proven their resilience in the past, the community confidently faces the future.

For more information on the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, please click here.

Sculpture Inscriptions

Maanjidowin: The Gathering is a granite and bronze sculpture created by artist David M. General. The sculpture has been inscribed with symbols and words that are meaningful to the Mississaugas of the Credit.


Seven Grandfather Teachings (north side of canoe)
The Seven Grandfather Teachings which are guiding principles that provide the moral and cultural foundation of life.

  • Gwekwaadeziwn (Honesty)                             
  • Aakidehewin (Courage)                                    
  • Debwewin (Truth)                                             
  • Nbwaakaawin (Wisdom)
  • Zaadigen (Love)
  • Mnaadenmewin (Respect)
  • Dhaanediziwini (Humility)

Medicine Wheel (south side of canoe)
The Medicine Wheel has been used by generations for health, healing and teaching. It embodies the Four Directions, as well as Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Spirit Tree—all of which symbolize dimensions of health and the cycles of life.
  • Waabanong (East Wind)
  • Zhaawanong (South Wind)
  • Nin-gi-obe-anong (West Wind)
  • Giiwe-dinong (North Wind)

Mississauga Nation crest on one end and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations crest are engraved on the ends of the canoe.

A single feather has been engraved on the canoe. The feather represents Rev. Peter Jones who helped to relocate the Mississaugas to farmland and is credited with helping save their people and culture.

Arm Tattoos

The Anishnaabemowin name is engraved on the arms of each creature. Each name ends in the –kwe suffix to indicate that the creatures are all female as females played a central role as custodians of cultural traditions surrounding water.
  • Makwa-kwe (Bear)
  • Nigig-kwe (Otter)
  • Migizi-kwe (Eagle)
Each creature also has a tattoo symbol that represents their species.
Prayers and Poetry
Two phrases are included on the base of the sculpture from current Gimaa (Chief) R. Stacey Laforme. Salmon and waves are also engraved on the base.
  • “We must always remember the real reason we gather. To do the right thing for our people, for our children, for our future.”
  • “We give thanks to the Creator for allowing this gathering. We ask that he guide us."
Gimaa R. Stacey Laforme

About Artist David. M. General 

An accomplished artist, lecturer and community leader, David M. General has been developing his distinctive imagery as a sculptor since 1975. Known for blending Indigenous perspectives and modernist styles and favouring classic, large-scale materials such as granite, bronze and domestic/exotic hardwood, Mr. General’s work is recognized by its simple, elegant lines and timeless, enduring tributes to Indigenous individuals, events and contributions.

Early in his art career, Mr. General was a founding member and co-chair of the Society of Canadian Artists of Native Ancestry (SCANA). He also served several years on the Six Nations Elected Council, first as a Councillor and then as elected Chief from 2004 to 2007. Mr. General currently holds several advisory roles, including Trustee of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection Board of Governors, Member of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee of the Canada Council for the Arts, Director on the Board of the Ontario Arts Council and Indigenous Mentor/Advisor at OCAD University.

Mr. General’s portfolio is vast and includes exhibitions with institutions throughout Canada and Europe. His sculpture is in the permanent collections of The Royal Ontario Museum, McMichael Canadian Collection, Indian Art Centre Collection, Indian and Northern Affairs, Woodland Indian Cultural Educational Centre, Thunder Bay National Exhibition Centre, Ontario Crafts Council, McIntosh Gallery, University of Western Ontario and the Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan.

To view Mr. General's full portfolio, click here