In partnership with the Onondaga Nation, Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) has begun developing a major statewide educational campaign to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee and European settlers. To this day, our Haudenosaunee neighbors retain the Two Row Wampum Belt on which this treaty was originally recorded. The belt illustrates a mutual, three-part commitment to friendship, peace between peoples, and living in parallel in perpetuity.
Throughout the years, the Haudenosaunee have sought to honor this mutual promise and remind us of our own. In recent years, they have increasingly emphasized that ecological stewardship is a fundamental necessity for this continuing friendship, for a more just peace between peoples and to a sustainable, shared future in parallel. We, the people and governments of the United States and Canada, on the other hand, have too often fallen short on this promised commitment:
- We have repeatedly broken international treaties and written laws to justify and conceal these unjust actions.
- We have forced coercive and unjust policies on our neighbors, usually aimed at further reducing Native Nations’ sovereignty while appropriating more of their lands and resources;
- We have—through governmental, economic, industrial, and social policies and practices—sullied our shared environmental inheritance and committed too few resources to restoring them.
What’s more, too few of us possess even a passing understanding of the tangled history and ongoing present of these injustices perpetuated in our names. The time has come for us to renew our commitment, to learn and acknowledge this ongoing history, to make amends and work for justice. In the words of our Haudenosaunee neighbors, it is high time that the people of the United States and Canada “polish the covenant chain” that will help to ensure a just, peaceful, and livable future for all of us.
In the spirit of the Two Row Wampum, and as concerned peoples of Nations bound by the “Two Row” and scores of subsequent treaties signed on our behalf and subsequently betrayed in our names, we are committed to reinvigorating this powerful vision and renewing this mutual commitment beginning next year and continuing throughout 2013.
We hope to polish this centuries-old covenant chain of friendship between our peoples, and draw more people into the work of extending Indigenous sovereignty over their lands, protecting our shared environmental inheritance, and building support for a just resolution of the several Haudenosaunee Land Rights Actions.
As in the series, “Onondaga Land Rights and Our Common Future,” and our other previous projects, we intend to work in parallel with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the individual Native Nations to educate our governments and fellow citizens about the history of Two Row Wampum, its meaning, and its implications for peace, friendship, environmental responsibility and justice in 2013 and beyond. We are planning a variety of possible events including lectures, concerts, celebrations, historic enactments, and collaborations with related activities that focus on Indigenous Rights, peace-making and environmental healing for all. Please join us.
Schedule of Events
We will begin with a cultural and educational festival near Albany on Saturday, July 27 and the flotilla will set off the following morning. We will paddle between 9 and 15 miles each day and camp along the route.
There will be educational and cultural events along the way, some large and others small. The gatherings will feature talks by Haudenosaunee leaders and allies and cultural sharing. The most up-to-date version of the itinerary can be found here.
We will arrive in New York City on Friday, August 9 to participate in the United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
The symbolic enactment and related events will draw thousands of people to the Hudson to learn and be inspired to create an equitable and sustainable future for all in the Hudson Valley and beyond. The events will attract tourists as well as residents. We aim to educate and inspire attendees to transform their relationship to the river and all parts of the natural world, incorporating a sense of historic responsibility for the environment and justice for the original inhabitants of this land.
At each of our stops, we will need logistical assistance from local supporters. Below the list of ideas for ways to provide support is the current, nearly-final itinerary. If you can help at a particular location, please contact the appropriate person directly. If you have more general ideas/suggestions/offers of assistance, you can contact Andy Mager or Hickory Edwards. We will generally be leaving each morning as the tide is going out which will typically be between 10 and 11 daily.
Ways You can Help
-Provide and/or arrange for housing for people who aren’t able to camp
-Identify potential overflow camping areas if we fill up our spots
-Assist with on the ground logistical support, setting up for events/camping, directing people to park, running errands, setting up signs, be part of our “leave no trace” cleanup crew…
-Raise funds to help support the journey
-Solicit donations of food from area stores and farmers
-Bring food and/or arrange for others to do so to our breakfast, lunch or dinner spots
-Assist with transport/pickup of new people joining us, help identify places where cars can be left
-Help with publicity and media relations, both before and during the event. Contact Lindsay Speer.
-Help organize an event for us in your community when we arrive, including seeking support and welcome from local leaders
-Help fill two specific requests: A pontoon boat or other boat with a flat deck -and a captain!- to assist the media team, and a solar device-charging station. (Keeping media team’s computers, cell phones, and cameras charged is a key logistical challenge)