If you are near the Albany area, or can drive there easily on Sunday morning, July 28, 2013, you and your children or grandchildren will be able to witness an historic moment.
Some two hundred canoes carrying Native Americans and non-natives will gather for a brief ceremony on Sunday morning before launching on their historic journey from Albany to New York City and the United Nations. Tadodaho Sid Hill will offer the traditional Thanksgiving Address and greetings will be offered from local dignitaries including, Rensselaer Mayor Dan Dwyer, Dominick Calsolaro, Albany Common Council and a representative of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
The two rows of paddlers will then embark on our historic trek to honor treaty rights and protect the Earth.
The Corning Preserve in Albany will provide a particularly good viewing spot.
A send-off celebration is going on all day Saturday, July 27, 2013, until 5 pm at Russell Sage College in Troy as the canoeists prepare to launch their epic adventure. Opening Thanksgiving by Tom Porter. Speakers, music, social dancing, children’s programming and more. Free admission, food and exhibitions such as wood turning and blacksmithing.
The Two Row Wampum belt is the symbolic record of the first agreement between Europeans and American Indian Nations on Turtle Island/North America. 2013 marks the 400th anniversary of this first covenant, which forms the basis for the covenant chain of all subsequent treaty relationships made by the Haudenosaunee and other Native Nations with settler governments on this continent. The agreement outlines a mutual, three-part commitment to friendship, peace between peoples, and living in parallel forever (as long as the grass is green, as long as the rivers flow downhill and as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west). Throughout the years, the Haudenosaunee have sought to honor this mutual vision and have increasingly emphasized that ecological stewardship is a fundamental prerequisite for this continuing friendship.
Jake Edwards, of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs, said “What we hope to achieve in this journey is to educate the people so that they do their part, individually, as peoples, to protect mother earth and all the waters that flow for future generations.”
“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 campaign’s goals are said to be structured to reflect the Two Row Wampum’s three-part vision of peace, friendship, and a sustainable future in parallel forever:
1) Increase awareness of the Two Row Wampum Treaty; what was agreed to, what it meant then and means today, including the legal priority given to treaties in the U.S. Constitution.
2) Advance understanding of the history of Haudenosaunee relations with European and U.S. governments and peoples, especially as reflected in treaties.
3) Create understanding of the purposes and intentions of the Onondaga Land Rights Action and related cases.
4) Increase understanding of wampum belts as a mode of permanently recording events, especially treaty agreements and their obligations and symbolic meanings.
5) Inform participants and audiences of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and its implications for relations between New York and the Haudenosaunee Nations consistent with the Two Row Wampum Treaty.
6) Educate about the importance of Indigenous peoples’ efforts to reclaim and protect their sovereignty including self-governance and conflict-resolution, control of land, development of economies that meet people’s needs, health and reproductive services, education and socialization of children and culture.
7) Build momentum towards fundamental change in the way New York State relates to the Haudenosaunee Nations.
8) Increase recognition and appreciation of the contemporary Haudenosaunee and other Native nations and peoples; their culture, aspirations, worldview and ecological knowledge.
9) Highlight the powerful influence of Haudenosaunee thought and practices on the foundations of U.S. democracy, advancement of women’s rights and authority, spread of ecological understanding and many others.
10) Create opportunities for people to hear directly from Haudensaunee leaders and to experience Haudenosaunee languages as appropriate, for example in greetings and thanksgiving.
Forever / Ensuring a sustainable future
11) Present Haudenosaunee views on environmental issues including hydrofracking and climate change.
12) Create awareness of the link between environmental destruction and the US’s failure to live up to the promise of the Two Row Wampum Treaty.
13) Support/help facilitate change in the way people relate to and orient themselves toward the environment. Engender respect for the laws of Nature.
14) Celebrate the Hudson River, the efforts to clean it and heal it and the work remaining to do for the benefit of future generations;
15) Encourage appreciation of and learning from the ways of the river: its currents, it’s populations of water beings; its riverbanks and mountains; the eagles that fly above; its incomparable beauty and power to support and sustain life.
16) Engage people in discussion as to how we can live together and move forward towards a sustainable future in peace and friendship in perpetuity, using the Two Row Wampum as a model.
Flotiall Launch will take place on Sunday, July 28 at 10:00 am
Rensselaer Boat Launch, 20 Forbes Ave., Rensselaer, NY