Day 3 & 4 – Coxsackie to Catskill to Sojourner Truth / Ulster Landing Park near Saugerties
Day 3, Tuesday July 30: The day began in sunshine, cool breeze, and high spirits, in camp at Coxsackie Town Park. With good mind and thoughts for the well-being of the Shared River of Life, about 75 canoes and kayaks took to the water. Youth from the Tonawanda Seneca Nation sang us down the river as we paddled. Osprey and great blue herons kept us company along the shore, and again eagles were with us. The two long rows of boats make a multicolored line on the water like a strand of beads, with the Onrust – a replica of a Dutch sailing ship from 1614– cruising alongside.
Each landing on the shore is an event, with greeters on the shore pulling up the boats and helping tired paddlers from their vessels. A welcome lunch stop in the Athens community park provided more opportunities for good conversation and laughter.
At the end of the day, we pull up at Catskill Park, and a garden of tents begins to emerge on the green green lawn. Suddenly cheers begin erupting as the Dakota Unity Riders arrive in full regalia on horseback, stopping again in solidarity with the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign on their way from Manitoba east. In a traditional ceremony, the Haudenosaunee leadership welcomed them formally and invited them to share the hospitality of Two Row camp, an invitation that was then formally accepted by the Dakota leadership in the name of the Dakota nation.
Day 4, Wednesday July 31
Our canoes & kayaks launched with the accompaniment of the Onrust and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at 10 am. The weather was clear and sunny, and the lead paddlers in the two rows set a steady pace. The landmarks along the river for the day were giant towers of the cement plants along the river, some derelict, some continuing to be used. Shortly before lunch the Coast Guard asked us to get close to shore as a massive barge and tugboat were coming through. They communicated with the tug and it slowed its pace considerably by the time it passed us, creating minimal wake, so all the fuss was for nothing although had the tug not slowed, the wake would have been considerable.
The lunch destination was the Malden-on-Hudson boat launch. Pizzas and salads were provided by Rosa’s Pizzeria of Malden, and delivered to the landing site by Vernon Benjamin and many other volunteers. Our land crew was invited for lunch & showers at the Kiwanis Club of Malden. Special thanks to the people at the Kiwanis Ice Arena for the hospitality for the whole day, to Greg Charvas for setting up local contacts in the Ulster area and the Malden police department for their security and welcome.
All went well on the water for the day. The two rows came in straight and proud. Close to 100 people in the community joined our gathering for the evening, many to help with food prep and visiting with and welcoming the Two Row paddlers.
The gathering was to bring forth the African American and Native American connection in North America. The title was “Indigenous Rights and African American Freedom Struggles”. Speakers were Dr. Airy Dixon, a scholar on Native Americans of Indigenous and African descent; the Reverend Modele Clark, an African-American leader in the Hudson Valley, and Allison Hamlett-Smith of the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign. Nick Miles and his drummers carried the night.
Thanks to Sally Bermanzohn and Etaquoa Mhoquethoth for greetings and setting the program, to Sue Rosenberg for the community volunteers and contacts, to Myra Long and Linda McCartney of the Port Ewen Reform Church of Ulster for the welcome and housing for our elders.
More updates coming soon!