Two Row Paddle Day 6: Kingston / Norrie Park to Poughkeepsie
Despite many challenges provided by the previous day’s weather, Friday, August 2 was another powerful and productive day for our symbolic enactment of the Two Row Wampum Treaty. Our crew of paddlers and ground crew awoke in a variety of settings on both sides of the river on the morning of August 2. Due to the previous day’s heavy winds and rain, only the Oneida Wisconsin contingent camped at Norrie Point Park, our planned stop. Others spent the night sleeping at a community center in Kingston, at the barn of the Hudson Maritime Museum, on the OnRust or Half Moon ships or scattered other sites. An advance contingent of stronger paddlers set up off early from the Maritime Museum to paddle to Norrie Point across the river. Others were driven to Norrie in a comfortable bus provided to us through the generosity of the people of Kingston.
Before launching we gathered for morning meeting to review the day’s plan, hear updates from the safety paddlers and a reminder from Jake Edwards about the importance of the “Good Mind,” a traditional Haudenosaunee teaching about always treating one another with respect and keeping our larger purpose in mind. Our 9 mile paddle was lovely and uneventful landing at the Hudson River Rowing Association on the north edge of Poughkeepsie. We quickly set up camp along the river. It’s just beautiful having the opportunity to camp right along the river nearly every night, opening up our tents to the majesty of this body of water with such history and promise for renewal.
Our event, “Lacrosse the Creator’s Game,” was held early and featured a presentation and demonstration by Onondaga lacrosse player and expert stick maker Alf Jacques. There were many questions about his collection of sticks made by native people from throughout Haudenosaunee country and as far away as Florida, as well as about his craft. Director of the Skanonh Great Law of Peace Center (link?) Philip Arnold spoke briefly about the planned center and an upcoming “Old Sticks” lacrosse event planned for there on September 28-29. The program closed with Orris Edwards, one of our high energy youthful Onondaga paddlers sharing his experiences as a lacrosse player. Orris, who was nervous about his first public speaking gig, spoke about growing up surrounded by lacrosse, representing his nation as part of the Iroquois Nationals Under 19 lacrossse team and acting and playing in the film “Crooked Arrows”. The crowd cheered when Orris described his thrill about being part of the first Nationals team to defeat the United States, noting that 93 players tried out for the Nationals, compared to some 15,000 for the U.S. team!