On November 13, Haudenosaunee leaders, including Tadodaho Sid Hill and Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, joined with hundreds of other native leaders from the four directions for the 5th White House Tribal Nations Conference.
“I know we’ve got members of the Iroquois nation here today,” President Obama remarked. “And I think we could learn from the Iroquois Confederacy, just as our Founding Fathers did when they laid the groundwork for our democracy. The Iroquois called their network of alliances with other tribes and European nations a ‘covenant chain.’ Each link represented a bond of peace and friendship. But that covenant chain didn’t sustain itself. It needed constant care, so that it would stay strong. And that’s what we’re called to do, to keep the covenant between us for this generation and for future generations.”
After the meeting, Tadodaho Sid Hill remarked that while he appreciated President Obama’s acknowledgment of the Covenant Chain, “little seems to change on the ground.” The Tadodaho also noted that most of Obama’s message is addressed to leaders of nations who are dependent on the Bureau of Indian Affairs, whereas the Onondaga Nation rejects any relationship not based on treaties.
Native leaders from all 566 federally recognized tribes were invited to this conference where tribal leaders heard from the President, members of his Cabinet and other Senior Administration Officials.
Obama’s full address and video of his speech are available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/13/remarks-president-tribal-nations-conference.
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”.
Continuing the renewal of 400 years of friendship begun last month in New York City.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 12, 2013
For More Information
Andy Mager, Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, 315-701-1592 (office), 315-559-7058 (cell)
Haudenosaunee Leaders Travel to Netherlands
to Mark Two Row Wampum Agreement
On Friday, September 13, 2013, Haudenosaunee leaders will participate in a ceremony to honor the 400 year old Two Row Wampum Treaty between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and The Netherlands. The ceremony will be held at the Tree of Peace which was planted by the late Mohawk elder Jake Swamp at Wijkpark Transvaal in The Hague, The Netherlands, in September 2006.
The Netherlands Coalition for Indigenous Peoples has organized the event as part of their annual efforts to strengthen the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Dutch Ambassador for Human Rights, Mr. Lionel Veer will represent The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the ceremony which follows up on the welcome of the Two Row Symbolic Enactment to New York City by the Dutch Consul General Rob deVos on August 9. In New York City, Mr. deVos renewed the 400 year old friendship between his nation and the Haudenosaunee, noting “The Dutch people could not have survived, could not have lived here, without your help. We can learn so much from you.”
Onondaga Faithkeeper and international indigenous leader Oren Lyons, Mohawk educator and activist Kenneth Deer and Mohawk Elder Joe Deom, Chairman of the Board of the KANIEN’KEHÁ:KA ONKWAWÉN:NA RAOTITIÓHKWA Cultural Center, will travel to the Netherlands on Haudenosaunee passports, part of an ongoing assertion of sovereignty. “The Two Row prevails,” Lyons said at the United Nations on August 9. “We’re here. We’re friends. We must now put our attention to the future of our children and their children and their children. If we do that, we ensure the safety of our future.”
Leo van der Vlist, director of The Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples, came to the US to participate in the Two Row Wampum journey down the Hudson River in August. A key organizer of the ceremony at the Hague, he said: “I am very happy that a renewal of the 400 year peace and friendship symbolized by the Two Row Wampum agreement can also take place in our country. This is a significant step in building new relations between States and indigenous peoples based on a joint responsibility for peaceful coexistence and protecting the earth for our future generations.”
Alifuru people (from what is now called Indonesia) residing in The Netherlands will lead the ceremony at the Tree of Peace.
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.
The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is an educational and advocacy initiative to mark the 400th anniversary of the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and European newcomers to this land. It is a collaboration between Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) and the Onondaga Nation (Central Firekeepers of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy).
This campaign has developed a broad alliance between New Yorkers and the Haudenosaunee with the ultimate aim of achieving social and economic justice for the Haudenosaunee as well as environmental justice for New Yorkers. Interns this fall will assist with followup to our historic trek down the Hudson and work on developing future plans.
General Qualifications: Interns with Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, a project of the Syracuse Peace Council, need to be self-starters who are comfortable operating in a grassroots environment with limited resources. They must be interested in learning more about and participating in the creation of a more peaceful and just world, as well as learning about the Onondaga Nation and Haudenosaunee people. Good communications skills, attention to detail, flexibility and a desire to work cross-culturally are critical. Ability to work independently is important. We do not currently have any funds for paid internships.
Hours: The time commitment varies from week to week, but generally requires an average of ten hours (or more) per week, primarily during business hours but also some evening and weekend work, for the course of the semester. A greater time commitment is welcomed.
Supervision & evaluation: The intern would be supervised by the Two Row Wampum Project Coordinator in conjunction with leaders of particular aspects of the campaign. The intern would be evaluated on their level of responsibility in following through effectively on tasks, on their ability to work cooperatively with others and on their role in the success of the project. For interns working outside of Central New York, we will need to arrange local supervision.
To apply for an internship, please complete our intern application and return it to with a current resume and contact information for 2-3 references to our office, 2013 East Genesee St.., Syracuse, NY 13210 or email to email@example.com. Ap
Internships are also available with other projects at the Syracuse Peace Council. Read more.
Two Row Wampum Campaign Internships
Social Media Coordinator
The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is looking for an intern with social media expertise to maintain and expand our social media outreach. We seek someone with significant social media experience who can build on the base which has been created (nearly 4000 likes on Facebook and over 600 Twitter followers).
Photo/Video Archiving and Editing
Assist with cataloging and archiving thousands of photos and many hours of video from the Two Row Campaign. Identify strong shots for use in print and digital distribution.
Assist with the fund development work to support the campaign. This can include working on grant reporting and proposal writing, fundraising events, solicitations to individuals, online fundraising and more.
Assist in the continuation of our local and statewide media campaign for The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign.
Educational Resources and Events
Help plan educational events for the fall as part of the campaign. Work with the Education Committee to prepare curricular materials for use in schools.
Protecting the Earth is central to the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign. This person would assist in developing ways to bring specific environmental concerns, including hydrofracking and climate change, into the campaign. She/he might also play a role in helping make the enactment as environmentally friendly as possible.
Onondaga Nation Turtle Clan Faithkeeper Oren Lyons and Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign Project Coordinator Andy Mager were joined by Pete Seeger in Democracy Now!’s studios this morning. Here’s what they had to say:
We the People, in the spirit of Truth, Condolence and Healing join with each other in the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign to “polish the silver covenant chain” that ties together the Native Peoples and Nations of Turtle Island (North America) with the people of the United States and Canada in a bond of peace, friendship and environmental responsibility that we intend to honor forever more. We call upon all local, state and federal legislators, executives and judges to honor the spirit and letter of treaties made with Native Nations and peoples on our behalf. We personally and individually promise that we will:
1. Learn about and honor treaties made between Native Nations and European Representatives, commitments inherited later by the United States and Canada that secure for Native and First Nations the right to self-determination and sovereignty to determine their political status and freely choose and pursue their own way of life and; that all problems between our peoples will be resolved by diplomatic means between equals;
2. Correct the one-sided history that inaccurately emphasizes “discovery” and “development” of North America by Europeans while ignoring many thousands of years of accomplishment in governance, agriculture, and arts in the daily life and practices of Native and First Nations peoples;
3. Support full acknowledgement and just amends for deliberate policies to remove Native and First Nations peoples from their lands, destroy the base of their livelihoods, suppress their nations and their governments, undermine and disrespect their cultures, brutalize their children and poison their lands;
4. Work toward fair, just and respectful resolution of outstanding Native and First Nations land disputes which includes the restoration and clean-up of all environmentally damaged lands and waters;
5. Personally care for and respect the natural world on which we all depend and resist energy policies and practices, including hydrofracking, that intensify the looming climate and environmental crises and instead fight for renewable and alternative energy and economic policies that put the well-being of all people and our ecosystems ahead of the accumulation of wealth for the wealthy;
6. Call on the United States and Canada to fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Since the beginning of the relations between our peoples, the Two Row Wampum Treaty has been the alternative to removal, assimilation, patronizing (trust/protector) relations and the policies of attempted genocide. We hereby promise to renew the Two Row, to polish the silver chain of friendship between our peoples beginning today and for many generations to come.
Download and print the Declaration of Intent to gather signatures (pdf file).
Just a quick note that Democracy Now! will be featuring the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign on Friday, August 9th (tomorrow!) between 8:10-9 AM. Listen for Onondaga Nation Turtle Clan Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign Project Coordinator Andy Mager, and legendary songwriter and activist and member of our Honorary Advisory Committee Pete Seeger!
HISTORIC JOURNEY TO HONOR NATIVE TREATIES AND PROTECT THE EARTH LANDING IN NEW YORK CITY ON AUGUST 9th
Over 200 Native and Non-Native Peoples Paddle Down Hudson River Together
For More Information – Andy Mager, Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, (315) 559-7058
August 7, 2013- New York, NY— On Friday, August 9 at 10 am over 100 canoe and kayak paddlers will land at Pier 96 (57th St.) on the Hudson River, completing a 218 mile journey from the Onondaga Nation, located south of Syracuse, NY. The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is coming to NYC to honor and renew the 400-year-old first treaty between the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) and the Dutch. Following a welcome from local dignitaries and Dutch Consul General Rob de Vos at Pier 96, a march will head to the United Nations for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Events will occur over the last few days of the journey in Piermont, NY; Yonkers, NY; Inwood Hill Park, Pier 96, the United Nations, and near the World Financial Center in NYC.
—-CONTACT LINDSAY SPEER 315-383-7210 TO ARRANGE PASSAGE ON THE BOAT LAUNCH 5 FOR ON-THE-WATER FOOTAGE—
Near Albany, NY on July 28th Edwards and the fifteen paddlers from the Onondaga Nation were joined by approximately 200 other paddlers from 20 different Native nations, 14 states, Canada, and the Netherlands.
Over 500 Native and Non-Native people have participated over the course of the 13 day trip, traveling down the Hudson River in two rows to bring to life the imagery of coexistence as explained by the Two Row Wampum. This agreement formed the basis of all diplomacy between the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch, French, English, the United States and Canada, and is still in effect to this day.
“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.”
“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 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.”
“This trip together helps to renew the ties of peace and friendship between our peoples,” noted Jeanne Shenandoah of the Onondaga Nation. “It is an opportunity to learn from one another.”
On August 10th a day-long festival is planned in the outdoor plaza between Brookfield, World Financial Center and the North Cove Marina. The festival is organized by the American Indian Community House and will include many world renowned performers including Comedian Charlie Hill (Oneida, Mohawk, Cree) who will act as Master of Ceremonies. Performances by the Akwesasne Women Singers, Sherri Waterman & The Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers, SilverCloud Singers (intertribal), Josephine Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock/Hopi/Ho-Chunk). Speakers include Tadodaho Sid Hill, Chief Oren Lyons, Chief Jake Edwards.
“Americans have largely forgotten the importance of treaties, even though Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution states that treaties are the supreme law of the land,” explains Andy Mager, the Project Coordinator for the campaign and a member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation. “In the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua, George Washington promised protection for Haudenosaunee territories. 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 more than ever.”
Protection for the environment is at the heart of this campaign. The Haudenosaunee work closely with their neighbors to protect the environment, as evidenced by their work to address Superfund sites at Onondaga Lake and along the St. Lawrence River, and the strong stance they have taken against hydrofracking, the extreme energy method of extracting methane gas from shale. As paddlers passed the Indian Point nuclear facility south of Peekskill, NY they carried signs calling for its closure. A similar increasingly urgent message of peace and healing for all living beings is being made by Indigenous peoples across North America, including the Dakota Unity Riders from Manitoba, Canada, who have joined the paddlers on horseback at various events. “An important aspect of this agreement was that we live in the river of life and we all need to take care of it,” Freida Jacques, Clanmother of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation reminds us. “The environment was a part of this agreement.” As climate change inflicts severe flooding and storms, drought and melting ice caps, the lessons of the Two Row Wampum agreement are particularly timely.
“Our ancestors made this great agreement on our behalf 400 years ago,” notes Hickory Edwards, the lead paddler for the Onondaga Nation. “Now is the time to think about people living in the next 400 years.”
The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is a joint project between Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation and the Onondaga Nation to raise awareness of the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and European settlers, created 400 years ago this year. It explains our responsibilities to coexist together in peace and friendship, respect sovereignty, and 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 nations. Over 85 organizations have co-sponsored the campaign. The honorary advisory committee includes Pete Seeger, Bill McKibben of 350.org, Jane Goodall, Oren Lyons (Onondaga), Tonya Gonnella Frischner (Onondaga), Rick Hill (Tuscarora), Joanna Macy, Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney, Leonard Peltier, Tom Porter (Mohawk), Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor, and Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee), an original plaintiff in the Washington Redskins case. To learn more visit www.honorthetworow.org.
10 AM LAUNCH at Piermont Pier
1:30 AM WELCOMING at Kennedy Marina – Deputy Mayor Sue Geary; Chuck Lenit, City Council President; Judith Schwartzstein from Sarah Lawrence College; Yvette Hartsfield, City of Yonkers Parks Commissioner; Tony Moonhawk, Marcey WindintheTrees, Ramapough Lenape;
5 PM LANDING at Inwood Hill Park, near La Marina.
6:30 PM Poetry and Spoken Word: Two Rows and More at Inwood Hill Park near La Marina
Welcoming by Shorakapok Earth Keepers and Harlem Samba band Special guest readers include Janet Rogers (Mohawk)*, Daygot Leeyos (Oneida) and Suzan Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee). There will also be an opportunity for open mic time.
6:30 AM LAUNCH from Inwood Hill Park near La Marina
10 AM LANDING at Pier 96 on W. 57th Street. The paddlers will be welcomed by local dignitaries, the Dutch Counsel General Mr. Rob de Vos and a Thanksgiving Address by Tadodaho Sid Hill of the Haudenosaunee.
11:30 AM supporters are welcome to join the paddlers as they walk across Manhattan on W. 59th street to Columbus Circle, down Broadway, across E. 50th street and down E. 2nd street to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. The permitted march is a display of solidarity with the rights of indigenous peoples all over the world and the responsibility of all peoples to the environment. At Dag Hammarskjold Plaza the walkers will be greeted by the Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Mr. Paul Kanyinke Sena.
3:00 – 6:00 pm Special event in commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples at UN Headquarters, Conference Room 2 (a Two Row campaign delegation of approximately 100 people will be in attendance). The event will be webcast live at webtv.un.org. Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper to the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, will speak.
August 10: 12-5 PM NYC Two Row Wampum Festival. Brookfield Place/World Financial Center, 200 Vesey St., NYC. Performances by the Akwesasne Women Singers, Sherri Waterman & The Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers, SilverCloud Singers (intertribal), Josephine Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock/Hopi/Ho-Chunk). Speakers include Tadodaho Sid Hill, Chief Oren Lyons, Chief Jake Edwards.
Day 3, Tuesday July 30: The day began in sunshine, cool breeze, and high spirits, in camp at Coxsackie Town Park. With good mind and thoughts for the well-being of the Shared River of Life, about 75 canoes and kayaks took to the water. Youth from the Tonawanda Seneca Nation sang us down the river as we paddled. Osprey and great blue herons kept us company along the shore, and again eagles were with us. The two long rows of boats make a multicolored line on the water like a strand of beads, with the Onrust – a replica of a Dutch sailing ship from 1614– cruising alongside.
Each landing on the shore is an event, with greeters on the shore pulling up the boats and helping tired paddlers from their vessels. A welcome lunch stop in the Athens community park provided more opportunities for good conversation and laughter.
At the end of the day, we pull up at Catskill Park, and a garden of tents begins to emerge on the green green lawn. Suddenly cheers begin erupting as the Dakota Unity Riders arrive in full regalia on horseback, stopping again in solidarity with the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign on their way from Manitoba east. In a traditional ceremony, the Haudenosaunee leadership welcomed them formally and invited them to share the hospitality of Two Row camp, an invitation that was then formally accepted by the Dakota leadership in the name of the Dakota nation.
Day 4, Wednesday July 31
Our canoes & kayaks launched with the accompaniment of the Onrust and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at 10 am. The weather was clear and sunny, and the lead paddlers in the two rows set a steady pace. The landmarks along the river for the day were giant towers of the cement plants along the river, some derelict, some continuing to be used. Shortly before lunch the Coast Guard asked us to get close to shore as a massive barge and tugboat were coming through. They communicated with the tug and it slowed its pace considerably by the time it passed us, creating minimal wake, so all the fuss was for nothing although had the tug not slowed, the wake would have been considerable.
The lunch destination was the Malden-on-Hudson boat launch. Pizzas and salads were provided by Rosa’s Pizzeria of Malden, and delivered to the landing site by Vernon Benjamin and many other volunteers. Our land crew was invited for lunch & showers at the Kiwanis Club of Malden. Special thanks to the people at the Kiwanis Ice Arena for the hospitality for the whole day, to Greg Charvas for setting up local contacts in the Ulster area and the Malden police department for their security and welcome.
All went well on the water for the day. The two rows came in straight and proud. Close to 100 people in the community joined our gathering for the evening, many to help with food prep and visiting with and welcoming the Two Row paddlers.
The gathering was to bring forth the African American and Native American connection in North America. The title was “Indigenous Rights and African American Freedom Struggles”. Speakers were Dr. Airy Dixon, a scholar on Native Americans of Indigenous and African descent; the Reverend Modele Clark, an African-American leader in the Hudson Valley, and Allison Hamlett-Smith of the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign. Nick Miles and his drummers carried the night.
Thanks to Sally Bermanzohn and Etaquoa Mhoquethoth for greetings and setting the program, to Sue Rosenberg for the community volunteers and contacts, to Myra Long and Linda McCartney of the Port Ewen Reform Church of Ulster for the welcome and housing for our elders.
More updates coming soon!
What a wonderful start to our epic journey! Hundreds of indigenous and ally paddlers and their supporters gathered at the boat launch in Rensselaer in the pouring rain for our rousing send off. The rain cleared away long enough for most of the send-off ceremony. As Tadodaho Sid Hill gave the Thanksgiving Address from the shores of the River That Flows Both Ways, a hummingbird even came to join our well-wishers.
Local political leaders also come to send their good wishes for our voyage. Congressman Paul Tonko, Mayor of Troy Lou Rosamilia, Albany City Councilor Dominick Calsolaro, and a representative from Senator Gillabrand’s office all offered good words and well-wishes for our journey. Dan Dwyer, the Mayor of Rensselaer, also arrived as the last paddlers were launching and shared his well-wishes with the Haudenosaunee leaders there.
And then we were off! It was a beautiful sight to see the two great long rows of paddlers, native and and non-native side by side setting off down the Hudson. The rains and wind came back, but our paddlers persevered down to Henry Hudson Park for a lunch. About six paddlers found it to be more challenging than they expected and were assisted by our safety boats and the US Coast Guard Auxillary with us safely to the lunch stop. It is a good reminder that this is a serious river that deserves all our respect.
Despite the weather, a pair of eagles and a great blue heron joined us on the water for a while and everyone was in high spirits. The weather cleared for our final leg and we made our triumphant entrance to Schodack Island State Park. Jun-san Yasuda of the Grafton Peace Pagoda was there at both the launch and the send off, drumming her prayers for us. At dinner, Etoqua welcomed us on behalf of the Mahicans to their territory, as this was the site of their Council Fire in the time of the Two Row Wampum Treaty.
In the evening, the young paddlers from Tonawanda Seneca sang for us and we all shared in social dancing. We are all tired but determined and full of joy to be on this great journey together. More photos coming tomorrow!