THE HAGUE – On a slow rhythm a procession of Moluccans moves towards the Tree of Peace in Wijkpark Transvaal in The Hague.
They participate in an annual ceremony which commemorates the UN declaration which guarantees the rights of indigenous peoples. This year attended by Indians from the United States.
Apart from one of them , who wears a feather headdress, they look very ordinary. The three men, Oren Lyons , Kenneth Deer and Joseph Deom, belong to the Iroquois, an Indian tribe from New York.
They are there to celebrate a four hundred year old peace treaty with the Netherlands. At the end of the ceremony the men get a symbolic handshake of human rights ambassador Lionel Veer of Foreign Affairs.
Lyons sees the friendship between his tribe and the Netherlands as a good example of peaceful cooperation. “It is important to remind of peace at this time. It requires hard work. Not only by world leaders, but in particular by the common people.
Because peace is in their hands. “tworow-1-duExceptional is that the Indians did not travel with a U.S. passport to the Netherlands but with that of the Onadaga Nation.
Onadaga is an independent reservation in New York. Leo van der Vlist, director of the Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples, says this caused quite some hassle: “The Onadaga passport is not officially recognized.
Because today is such a special occasion, an exception was made.”The 83 -year-old Lyons, spiritual leader of the nation, finds that the place has a special meaning. “This Tree of Peace was planted in 2006 with one of our Mohawk brothers.
That’s why it was important to gather here.” Van der Vlist agrees. “I was here in 2006 too. To now come back to this place with people I have been trying to get to the Netherlands for years. A fantastic moment.”
Originally posted: Article published in daily national Dutch newspaper Trouw on 14 September 2013
MICHAEL RAMAKER – 14/09/13 , 00:00 Reportage | Indians from reservation in New York honor 400 years old peace treaty
(Translation by Leo van der Vlist and Maarten Oversier)