Two Row at Salmon River Schools
Native American Heritage Month (NAHM), began sometime around 1915 when Dr. Arthur C. Parker of the Seneca Nation asked the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day in recognition of “First Americans.” Since then, there have been many proponents from many different Native nations who’s efforts have culminated in the whole month of November being designated as National American Indian Heritage Month. This month, many schools and Institutions are giving American Indian and Alaskan Natives recognition for their contribution to the establishment and growth of the United States.
This past week, the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign was invited to come speak at the Salmon River School District’s American Indian Heritage Month events. The Salmon River School District is located in Fort Covington, New York and has a very large percentage of students from the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. Grades 3-12 were gathered in the school’s auditorium to hear Andy Mager, Hickory Edwards, and Daygot Leeyos Edwards talk about the 380 mile journey from Onondaga Nation to New York City. Andy helped the students to understand that the purpose of the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign was to help educate and raise awareness for our treaty rights. Hickory spoke to the students about the Guswenta, and what the agreement made represents for both Native and Non-Native communities. The students then got to hear Daygot Leeyos Edwards perform spoken word, and watch short videos shot this summer by both the Onondaga Nation and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
The highlight of the presentations for the speaker’s was the question and answer sessions. One student asked, “On a scale of 1 to 100, how much fun did you have this summer?” To which Hickory replied, 1000. Daygot Leeyos answered 95 because she didn’t get to paddle everyday, and Andy Mager answered 100, and that he would do it again.
While visiting the school, the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign got to experience the beautiful artwork installation created by SRC students. The “SRC Friendship Belt”, as told by students, was made in celebration and appreciation of the cultural diversity of the students at Salmon River. Each student created a wampum bead to represent their respective cultures. These wampum beads were formed into the shape of figures holding hands, which is a symbol of friendship. Students expressed that they are extremely thankful for the unique story that each and every one student has to share.
Photos and Article by Skarianewah Logan