Ithaca Resolution and Seneca Street Mural
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ithaca Supports the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign
Seneca Street Mural Contest Winner Announced
June 22, 2013 – Ithaca, NY— Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick and Common Council 2nd Ward Representative Seph Murtagh formally presented a copy of the resolution in support of the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign passed by the Common Council on June 5 to leaders of the Cayuga Nation for the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy). The campaign is a joint project between the Haudenosaunee and non-Native allies, organized primarily by Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation. The resolution joins the Campaign’s call to keep fracking out of New York State, and calls on the United States government to fully implement the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The 400-year-old Two Row Wampum is the record of the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee and European settlers.
In honor of this anniversary, Caleb Thomas and Margaret Bowers solicited proposals for a new mural at the Seneca Street bus stop in Ithaca. The four individual submissions, and one group submission from submission from teacher Nancy Thompson’s 4th grade class at Belle Sherman School, were reviewed by the Cayuga Nation leaders during the annual Cayuga Nation Picnic at the Cayuga SHARE Farm on June 8.The winning design, created by Brandon Lazore, depicts chiefs representing each of the original five Haudenosaunee Nations holding the Two Row, Hiawatha, and George Washington (or Treaty of Canandaigua) wampum belts, in the Onondaga Longhouse, the seat of the Haudenosaunee Grand Council. Lazore is Onondaga.
“The Two Row Wampum is the grandfather of all the treaties,” explains Karl Hill, Faithkeeper and Sub-chief of the Cayuga Nation. “It influences diplomacy between our nations to this day. We appreciate the actions of the Ithaca Common Council and the Multicultural Resource Center. They promote understanding of this history and help to polish some of the tarnish from the Silver Covenant Chain that links our peoples with peace, friendship and respect.”
In explaining his support for the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign Resolution, Common Council 2nd Ward Representative Seph Murtagh said:
“When I was approached about bringing this resolution to Common Council, I didn’t have to think twice. I grew up in the Finger Lakes, and it’s hard not be aware of the incredible spiritual, cultural, and political contributions of the Haudenosaunee people to the history of this land. This resolution signals the City of Ithaca’s intent that our relationship with the Haudenosaunee Nations be one of goodwill and mutual respect, and I was proud to support it on Common Council.”
The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign began as a partnership between Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, a Syracuse group, and the Onondaga Nation. It has since grown to an international movement, including people from all six of the Haudenosaunee nations and people from Canada, the Netherlands, and all across the United States. Ally working groups exist in Ithaca, Albany, Syracuse, Beacon, New Paltz and NYC.
“As Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, we found the Two Row Wampum to be an excellent guide for how to work together respectfully with our Native neighbors,” explained Lindsay Speer, a spokesperson for the campaign. “For example, together we are keeping fracking out of our area, benefitting all of us.”In addition to educational events statewide throughout 2013, the highlight of the year is an epic canoe trip down the Hudson River to NYC starting on July 28th across the river from Albany, NY. The paddlers will take thirteen days to complete their journey, stopping in communities along the way. Large gatherings with music, crafts vendors, and speakers will be held on July 27th at Russell Sage College in Troy, NY and on August 3rd in Beacon, NY. The paddlers will land at Pier 96 in NYC on Friday, August 9th and make their way to the United Nations in honor of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
The message of peace, friendship, respect for sovereignty, and respect for the laws of Mother Earth carried by the paddlers of the campaign will be echoed by the message of the Dakota Unity Riders from Manitoba, Canada, as well as the Peace Walk organized by Jun-San Yasuda of the Grafton Peace Pagoda. They will be riding and walking on land in parallel with the paddlers. To learn more visit www.HonorTheTwoRow.org, and follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube @HonorTheTwoRow.
The Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Confederacy consists of 6 Nations: The Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca Nations were the original confederacy formed over 1000 years ago on the shores of Onondaga Lake. Tuscarora Nation joined the confederacy in the early 1700’s.