Two Row Honored in Netherlands
By Cayla Naranjo
The Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples organized a ceremony in honor of the Two Row Wampum’s 400th year anniversary and the 5 year anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13 in the Hague, Netherlands.
The ceremony began with seven women guiding a group to the Tree of Peace carrying a six meter wide Two Row Wampum Banner. Haudenosaunee leaders along with indigenous people from the South Pacific and Dutch representatives met at the tree planted in September 2006 by the late Mohawk elder Jake Swamp as a symbol of peace.
The ceremony began with a traditional Alifuru song and the Haudenosaunee leaders, Oren Lyons, Joe Deom and Kenneth Deer, were welcomed by the Alifuru people, indigenous people from what is now Indonesia, with a red cloth around their shoulders and a traditional handshake demonstrating that they support each other as brothers in their efforts to protect Mother Earth.
Participants brought meaningful objects to the ceremony such as treaties and copies of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to share. By the passing of a talking stick and the rhythmic beating of a drum, each participant shared their intention for the ceremony. At the end, water and tobacco, which had been under the drum during the ceremony, was brought to the Tree of Peace. Afterwards, Oren Lyons offered Lionel Veer, the Dutch Human Rights Ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a replica of the Two Row Wampum to rekindle their friendship as nations. Lionel Veer welcomed Oren, Kenneth and Joe to The Netherlands and offered them a silver pen on behalf of the Dutch government as a token of friendship. Together they reflected on the values of the Two Row Wampum expressing peace and friendship forever.
Oren offered Leo van der Vlist, the director of The Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples, a print of his painting of the Tree of Peace. On it read: “At The Haag. To The Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples and your unswerving mission of justice and peace for indigenous peoples and the earth. From the Haudenosaunee on behalf of the earth. Peace Oren 13.9.13”.