Haudenosaunee Paddlers Carry the Two Row Wampum to Albany
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 8, 2013
Haudenosaunee Paddlers Carry the Two Row Wampum to Albany
Flood damage has not yet impeded trip.
Mohawk River / NYS Canal System, NY— While the daily rain has dampened their tents, it has not dampened the spirits of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) paddlers making their way from their capital at the Onondaga Nation (south of Syracuse, NY) to Albany, NY. They carry a Two Row wampum belt to the beginning of the epic Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign canoe trip down the Hudson River, starting in Albany with over 200 paddlers on July 28. This week the paddlers are on the NYS Canal system between Lock 20 in Utica and Lock 2 at Peebles Island near Albany.
SCHEDULE – call 315-383-7210 for timing
Monday, July 8: Launch from Lock E20 in Utica approximately 11:30 am. Afternoon stop at the marina in Frankfort. Arrive at Lock E18 in Herkimer around 7 pm to camp.
Tuesday, July 9: Lock E18 à Lunch at Lock E17 in Little Falls. Camping at marina in St. Johnsville.
Wednesday, July 10: Marina à Lunch at Lock E15 à Kanatsiohareke (between Canajoharie and Fonda)
Thursday, July 11: Rest day / Event “Drums Along the Mohawk” at Kanatsiohareke
Friday, July 12: Kanatsiohareke à Lunch along the waterfront in Fonda à Camp at Lock E12 in Tribes Hill.
Saturday, July 13: Lock E12 à Lunch at Lock E10 near Amsterdam à Lock E8 in Scotia. Event at Mabee Farm Historic Site 12-7 PM.
Sunday, July 14: Lock E8 à Lunch at Lock E7 à Finish at Peebles Island State Park
The Two Row Wampum is the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois Confederacy) and the first settlers (the Dutch). Created 400 years ago this year, it teaches how to coexist together in peace and friendship, respect sovereignty, and share the responsibility to take care of the environment. The Haudenosaunee have kept the treaty, while it has been largely forgotten by Americans, even though both the English and American governments adopted its protocols.
“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 (Iroquois) Confederacy 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.”
“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.” Edwards emphasizes the need to respect the laws of nature, to protect the river of life which we share.
“This treaty is not just about the past,” explains Andy Mager, the Project Coordinator for the campaign and a member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, “it is about the future as well. Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution states that treaties are the supreme law of the land. 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 now more than ever.”
Following a ceremony at the Onondaga Longhouse on the morning July 2, a group of Haudenosaunee paddlers began the first leg of the Two Row Wampum journey travelling up rain-swollen Onondaga Creek into the Inner Harbor. A group of non-native paddlers joined them to paddle in two rows across Onondaga Lake, bringing to life the imagery of the Two Row Wampum. At the north shore they were met by a couple of hundred cheering people, overjoyed to see the powerful Two Row vision brought to life.
The paddlers, including representatives from all six Haudenosaunee nations, continued out of Onondaga Lake to the Seneca River, Oneida River and crossed Oneida Lake. As they head through the Erie Canal and then the Mohawk River, they face obstacles because of the high waters, but are determined to continue the journey even if it means walking some of the way. To date, the Canal has continued to re-open in front of them.
Each morning one of the paddlers takes out the replica Two Row Wampum belt and shares with the group what it means to them. “When they bring out the wampum and explain that this is for the Earth and for our brothers and sisters, it’s a great feeling and a beautiful way to start the day,” said Charlotte Logan, a Mohawk woman who has been documenting the journey.
As the group has moved from one Haudenosaunee territory to another, that nation has offered a Thanksgiving Address in their own language, first Onondaga, then Oneida and finally Mohawk. The group will reach the Hudson River on Sunday, July 14 and then the people and wampum belt will rest for two weeks before continuing down the Hudson to New York City and the United Nations.
Hickory Edwards, of the Onondaga Nation Kayak and Canoe Club, has spent the past five years reviving the use of his peoples’ ancient waterways. He leads both the paddle from Onondaga to Albany and then the longer trip from Albany to New York City on July 28-August 9. “Our ancestors made this great agreement on our behalf 400 years ago. Now is the time for us to think about the people living in the next 400 years.”
To learn more, call 315-701-1592 or visit www.HonorTheTwoRow.org.
The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is a joint project between native and non-native peoples to raise awareness of the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee and European settlers, created 400 years ago this year. It explains how to coexist together in peace and friendship, and the shared responsibility to take care of the environment. The project was officially endorsed by the Haudenosaunee Grand Council of Chiefs in January, 2013 and involves people from all six Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) nations. The Haudenosaunee are also known as the Iroquois Confederacy. The campaign is co-sponsored by over 85 organizations statewide.