Rocky and Joey were, however, sent back in the fall of 1968. They were lost without their Mohawk friends and decided to hike to Golden Lake, reaching the edges of Toronto after evading the cops. Joey was struck by an eastbound train in Oakville on September 3 and killed. He was described in the official report as a “trespasser”, not as a brave and hungry Native boy on his way to a distant home.
I hope his spirit is not confined at the Mushhole.
No one was held responsible for the death of Joseph William Commanda. I don’t know if a ceremony was ever done at the place where he was hit by the train, on the number 3 track in those railyards, I hope his spirit is not confined at the Mushhole.
As one of his many Mohawk friends I feel deep regret that we were not there with him, that he was left vulnerable at a place where we could not protect him. I hope that those who are compiling a list of the Mushhole victims will not forget Joey, known to us and now to them.
It is Joey Commanda, the human being, a 13-year-old Algonquin boy, who needs to be remembered. This is the one death of a Native child that I know of personally which occurred at the Mohawk Institute. There were whispered to be others.
Doug George-Kanentiio, is an Akwesasne Mohawk. He is the co-founder of the Native American Journalists Association, a former member of the Board of Trustees of the National Museum of the American Indian and the author of “Iroquois On Fire”. He resides in Oneida Castle with his wife Joanne Shenandoah.