John Sunday (c. 1795-1875) known in Ojibwa as Shawundais was a Mississauga Ojibwa chief and a Methodist minister. He was ordained in 1836 and became a missionary among the Indians of central Canada. During the war of 1812 Shawundais had been at the Battle of Crysler’s Farm, November 1813, in defense of Upper Canada along with the British and Canadians. In repelling the Americans along this stretch of the St. Lawrence his name along with other Mohawk and Mississauga warriors is forever recorded in the annals of Canadian history.
An intelligent man with an inquiring mind John Sunday was reputed to have a well-developed sense of humour and a well-developed knack at story-telling. Dr. John Carroll said of Sunday that: “No Indian preacher, and few English ones, could equal him for original methods of sermonizing, readiness of illustrations, and power to deal with the conscience. His wit, humor, downright drollery and readiness at repartee, joined to his broken English, make him irresistible.”
In 1837, he traveled to England to plead the cause of Indian missions, as well as aboriginal land title. He was accepted by Queen Victoria as the Chief of his people, who had authorized him to speak on their behalf. After returning from England, Shawundais faithfully served his people for twenty years at Alderville, Rice Lake, Mount Elgin and Muncey, besides tours to northern missions. Shawundais wrote: “My family lives at Alderville–but I live everywhere!”
John Sunday is buried at Alderville and a monument to his name and Christian service (including that of Rev. Williams Case and Philip Sparling) can be seen in the Alderville cemetery to this day.