Full Enactment Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information
Lindsay Speer, Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, 315-383-7210
HISTORIC JOURNEY TO HONOR NATIVE TREATIES AND PROTECT THE EARTH
Over 200 Native and Non-Native Paddle Down Hudson River Together
Hudson River, NY— It has been 400 years since the first treaty was signed between the first European (Dutch) settlers and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy), an agreement that formed the basis of all later treaties with the English and the United States. The Haudenosaunee are still here, and this year, peoples from all around the world are joining them to honor and renew this inspiring treaty of peace and friendship.
On July 28th, over 200 Native and non-Native paddlers launch near Albany to paddle over 140 miles to NYC side-by-side in two lines to honor and bring to life the imagery of the Two Row Wampum, the beaded record of this treaty. Full itinerary and events along the way available at www.honorthetworow.org. They land at Pier 96 in NYC at approximately 10 AM on August 9th to walk to the United Nations in honor of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. They will be greeted by the Dutch Consul General, other non-Native dignitaries, representatives of Native nations, and many supporters.
People from all six Haudenosaunee nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora) are participating in the journey, as well as people from 20 other Native nations and people from across NY State and beyond. Over 85 organizations have co-sponsored the campaign. The honorary advisory committee includes Pete Seeger, Bill McKibben of 350.org, Jane Goodall, Oren Lyons (Onondaga), Tonya Gonnella Frischner (Onondaga), Rick Hill (Tuscarora), Joanna Macy, Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney, Leonard Peltier, Tom Porter (Mohawk), Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor, and Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee), an original plaintiff in the Washington Redskins case.
“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.”
The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign was first suggested by organizers of a non-Native ally group known as Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) in 2011, who learned the history and meaning of the Two Row Wampum, and felt a responsibility to share this information. 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. In the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua, George Washington promised protection for Haudenosaunee territories. This act of paddling together is a recognition of the troubled past, and renewal for the future.
“Understanding and honoring the Two Row Wampum can improve relations between our peoples,” explains Andy Mager, the Project Coordinator for the campaign and a member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, “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. 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 will parallel the paddlers on horseback.
“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 for us to think about the people living in the next 400 years.”
|SATURDAY, JULY 27|
10 AM – 5 PM
Two Row Wampum Renewal Send-off Celebration Festival
Russell Sage College, Troy, NY
Tom Porter, Rick Hill, Pura Fe Crescioni, Margo Thunderbird, Akwesasne Women Singers, children’s activities and more.SUNDAY,
10 milesLaunch of the Two Row Flotilla
10 am Launch Ceremony – Rensselaer Boat Launch, Forbes Ave., Rensselaer
**Best public viewpoint and photo op location is from Corning City Preserve in Albany**
1:15 pm Lunch Stop – Henry Hudson Park
4:30 pm Landing – Schodack Island ParkMONDAY,
12 miles10 am Launch – Schodack Island Park
4:30 pm Landing – Coxsackie River Front Park, Coxsackie NY
7 pm – Sharing the River of Life evening program
Speakers: Mike McDonald, Akwesasne Mohawk Cultural Specialist and Educator and Aya Yamamoto, organizer with the Two Row Campaign.TUESDAY,
12 miles10 am Launch – Coxsackie River Front Park
1:00 pm Lunch stop – Athens, NY
4:30 pm Landing – Dutchman’s Landing, Catskill NY
7 pm Protecting the River of Life event at Catskill Point Park
Respect for the the laws of nature is at the heart of the Two Row, and can be a guide in these difficult times of fracking, climate change, and water pollution. Environmental groups will have info about hot topics. Speakers: Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons and othersWEDNESDAY, JULY 31
12 miles10 am – Launch – Catskill Point Park
1 pm – Lunch Stop – Malden-on-Hudson, NY
4:30 pm – Landing – Ulster Landing, Saugerties NY
7 pm – Indigenous Rights and African-American Freedom Struggles
Sharing about the connection between these two important struggles for justice and freedom. Initial speakers: Dr. Airy Dixon (scholar on Native American history of Indigenous & African descent), Rev Modele Clark (African American leader in Hudson Valley) and Allison Smith of the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign. Drummers: Nick Miles, Airy Dixon, and their drum group.THURSDAY, AUGUST 1
13 miles9:30 am – Launch – Ulster Landing, Saugerties, NY
11 am – Two Row Paddlers and Unity Riders event begins at Hudson River Maritime Museum, 50 Rondout Landing, Kingston
1 PM Landing for lunch at Hudson River Maritime Museum
6:30 pm Landing – Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park, Staatsburg, NYFRIDAY, AUGUST 2
9 miles11 am Launch – Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park, Staatsburg, NY
3 pm Landing – Hudson River Rowing Association, Poughkeepsie, NY
5:30 pm – Lacrosse: The Creator’s Game with Alfred Jacques, Philip Arnold and Orris Edwards
Traditional lacrosse stick making and lore at Hudson River Rowing AssociationSATURDAY, AUGUST 3
9:30 am – Welcome on Hudson River Walkway, Highland-Poughkeepsie
Unity Riders and supporters gather on the bridge as Two Row paddlers float underneath.
10 am Launch – Hudson River Rowing Association, Poughkeepsie, NY
1:15 pm Lunch at Marlboro Yacht Club
11 am – 8:10 pm – Two Row Festival at Beacon Riverfront Park
Haudenosaunee and other native speakers, Dakota Unity Riders, Pete Seeger, music, social dancing, children’s activities and more. 5:30 pm Landing – Beacon Riverfront ParkSUNDAY, AUGUST 4
11 am Launch – Beacon Riverfront Park
2 pm Landing – Dockside Park, Cold Spring, NY
4 pm Presentation: The Two Row Wampum: Past Present and Future
Hear a presentation by Onondaga Clanmother, poet and educator Wendy Gonyea, Two Row education coordinator and professor of environmental studies at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Jack Manno and Two Row organizer Lena Duby (Onondaga).MONDAY, AUGUST 5
13 miles10:30 am Launch – Dockside Park, Cold Spring, NY
12 noon Sharing the River of Life, Peekskill Riverfront Park
Speakers: Cayuga Chief Sam George from the Six Nations Territory, Mohawk educator Kay Olan and Brooke Hansen professor of Native American Studies and Anthropology at Cornell University and a Two Row organizer in Ithaca.
1:30 pm Landing – Peekskill Riverfront Park, Peekskill, NY
5 pm Landing at Stony Point Center, 17 Cricketown Rd., Stony Point, NY
7:30 pm Intercultural Peace/Friendship Event, Stony Point Center (not open to public)TUESDAY, AUGUST 6
4 miles10:30 am Launch – Stony Point Center, Stony Point, NY
1 pm Landing – Croton Point Park, Croton, NY
3 pm Elders Share Haudenosaunee History at Croton Point Park
Onondaga Clanmother and educator Freida Jacques and other Haudenosaunee elders share important aspects of their history.WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7
13 miles11 am Launch at Croton Point Park
5 pm Landing Piermont Pier, Piermont, NY
7 pm Sharing the River of Life educational program
A presentation about the history and current importance of the Two Row featuring Tonawanda Seneca Chief Darwin Hill, Ramapough Chief Dwayne Perry and environmental educator and activist and Two Row organizer Laurie Seeman.
Cayuga artist musician and Two Row organizer Dan Hill will provide musical accompaniment.THURSDAY, AUGUST 8
13 miles10:30 am Launch from Piermont Pier
5 pm Landing Inwood Hill Park, NYC
6:30 pm Poetry and Spoken Word: Two Rows and More at Inwood Hill Park
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.FRIDAY, AUGUST 9
13 miles6 am Launch from Inwood Hill Park
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.
11:30 am Walk across Manhattan to United Nations
1:30 pm Arrival at United Nations Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 1st Ave. and 47th St.
Greeting from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
A Two Row Campaign delegation will go attend the United Nations formal program to honor the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples later that afternoon.SATURDAY, AUGUST 10
11am – 5pm
Brookfield Place/World Financial Center, 200 Vesey St., NYCNew York City Two Row Wampum Festival
Location: The outdoor plaza between Brookfield, World Financial Center and the North Cove Marina, located along the Battery Park City waterfront. Brookfield Place is located at 200 Vesey Street, by the water’s edge, directly west from the World Trade Center. Enter near Vesey Street and West Street. View a map here: http://brookfieldplaceny.com/location
Organized by the American Indian Community House
Performers: Comedian Charlie Hill (Oneida, Mohawk, Cree) will act as Master of Ceremonies; Akwesasne Women Singers; Sherri Waterman & The Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers;
SilverCloud Singers (intertribal); Josephine Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock/Hopi/Ho-Chunk);
Speakers: Tadodaho Sid Hill, Chief Oren Lyons, Chief Jake Edwards