HISTORIC JOURNEY TO HONOR NATIVE TREATIES AND PROTECT THE EARTH LANDING IN NEW YORK CITY ON AUGUST 9th
Over 200 Native and Non-Native Peoples
Paddle Down Hudson River Together
August 7, 2013- New York, NY— On Friday, August 9 at 10 am over 100 canoe and kayak paddlers will land at Pier 96 (57th St.) on the Hudson River, completing a 218 mile journey from the Onondaga Nation, located south of Syracuse, NY. The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is coming to NYC to honor and renew the 400-year-old first treaty between the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) and the Dutch. Following a welcome from local dignitaries and Dutch Consul General Rob de Vos at Pier 96, a march will head to the United Nations for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Events will occur over the last few days of the journey in Piermont, NY; Yonkers, NY; Inwood Hill Park, Pier 96, the United Nations, and near the World Financial Center in NYC.
—-CONTACT LINDSAY SPEER 315-383-7210 TO ARRANGE PASSAGE ON THE BOAT LAUNCH 5 FOR ON-THE-WATER FOOTAGE—
Near Albany, NY on July 28th Edwards and the fifteen paddlers from the Onondaga Nation were joined by approximately 200 other paddlers from 20 different Native nations, 14 states, Canada, and the Netherlands. Over 500 Native and Non-Native people have participated over the course of the 13 day trip, traveling down the Hudson River in two rows to bring to life the imagery of coexistence as explained by the Two Row Wampum. This agreement formed the basis of all diplomacy between the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch, French, English, the United States and Canada, and is still in effect to this day.
“Each line of the wampum belt represents each of our laws, governments, languages, cultures, our ways of life,” Jake Edwards of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs explains. “It is agreed that we will travel together, side by each, on the river of life… linked by peace, friendship, forever. We will not try to steer each others’ vessels.”
“The Two Row is the oldest and is the grandfather of all subsequent treaties,” said Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation’s Turtle Clan who has represented the Haudenosaunee in world councils at the United Nations and elsewhere. “The words ‘as long as the sun shines, as long as the waters flow downhill, and as long as the grass grows green’ can be found in many treaties after the 1613 treaty,” Lyons said. “It set a relationship of equity and peace. This campaign is to remind people of the importance of the agreements.”
“This trip together helps to renew the ties of peace and friendship between our peoples,” noted Jeanne Shenandoah of the Onondaga Nation. “It is an opportunity to learn from one another.”
On August 10th a day-long festival is planned in the outdoor plaza between Brookfield, World Financial Center and the North Cove Marina. The festival is organized by the American Indian Community House and will include many world renowned performers including Comedian Charlie Hill (Oneida, Mohawk, Cree) who will act as Master of Ceremonies. Performances by the Akwesasne Women Singers, Sherri Waterman & The Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers, SilverCloud Singers (intertribal), Josephine Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock/Hopi/Ho-Chunk). Speakers include Tadodaho Sid Hill, Chief Oren Lyons, Chief Jake Edwards.
“Americans have largely forgotten the importance of treaties, even though Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution states that treaties are the supreme law of the land,” explains Andy Mager, the Project Coordinator for the campaign and a member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation. “In the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua, George Washington promised protection for Haudenosaunee territories. Understanding and honoring the Two Row Wampum can improve relations between our peoples and remind us of our responsibilities to the Earth which we all share. We need this more than ever.”
Protection for the environment is at the heart of this campaign. The Haudenosaunee work closely with their neighbors to protect the environment, as evidenced by their work to address Superfund sites at Onondaga Lake and along the St. Lawrence River, and the strong stance they have taken against hydrofracking, the extreme energy method of extracting methane gas from shale. As paddlers passed the Indian Point nuclear facility south of Peekskill, NY they carried signs calling for its closure. A similar increasingly urgent message of peace and healing for all living beings is being made by Indigenous peoples across North America, including the Dakota Unity Riders from Manitoba, Canada, who have joined the paddlers on horseback at various events. “An important aspect of this agreement was that we live in the river of life and we all need to take care of it,” Freida Jacques, Clanmother of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation reminds us. “The environment was a part of this agreement.” As climate change inflicts severe flooding and storms, drought and melting ice caps, the lessons of the Two Row Wampum agreement are particularly timely.
“Our ancestors made this great agreement on our behalf 400 years ago,” notes Hickory Edwards, the lead paddler for the Onondaga Nation. “Now is the time to think about people living in the next 400 years.”
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10 AM LAUNCH at Piermont Pier
1:30 PM WELCOMING at Kennedy Marina – Deputy Mayor Sue Geary; Chuck Lenit, City Council President; Judith Schwartzstein from Sarah Lawrence College; Yvette Hartsfield, City of Yonkers Parks Commissioner; Tony Moonhawk, Marcey WindintheTrees, Ramapough Lenape;
5:00 PM LANDING at Inwood Hill Park, near La Marina.
6:30 PM Poetry and Spoken Word: Two Rows and More at Inwood Hill Park near La Marina
Welcoming by Shorakapok Earth Keepers and Harlem Samba band Special guest readers include Janet Rogers (Mohawk)*, Daygot Leeyos (Oneida) and Suzan Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee). There will also be an opportunity for open mic time.
6:30 AM LAUNCH from Inwood Hill Park near La Marina
10 AM LANDING at Pier 96 on W. 57th Street. The paddlers will be welcomed by local dignitaries, the Dutch Counsel General Mr. Rob de Vos and a Thanksgiving Address by Tadodaho Sid Hill of the Haudenosaunee.
11:30 AM supporters are welcome to join the paddlers as they walk across Manhattan on W. 59th street to Columbus Circle, down Broadway, across E. 50th street and down E. 2nd street to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. The permitted march is a display of solidarity with the rights of indigenous peoples all over the world and the responsibility of all peoples to the environment. At Dag Hammarskjold Plaza the walkers will be greeted by the Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Mr. Paul Kanyinke Sena.
3:00 – 6:00 PM Special event in commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples at UN Headquarters, Conference Room 2 (a Two Row campaign delegation of approximately 100 people will be in attendance). The event will be webcast live at webtv.un.org. Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper to the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, will speak.
12:00 -5:00 PM NYC Two Row Wampum Festival. Brookfield Place/World Financial Center, 200 Vesey St., NYC. Performances by the Akwesasne Women Singers, Sherri Waterman & The Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers, SilverCloud Singers (intertribal), Josephine Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock/Hopi/Ho-Chunk). Speakers include Tadodaho Sid Hill, Chief Oren Lyons, Chief Jake Edwards.
Honor Native Treaties & Protect the Earth
Support the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign
512 Jamesville Ave | Syracuse, NY 13210
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Photo courtesy of Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign