BUFFALO – In 1613 our Haudenausaunee ancestors set in motion a relationship with the Dutch. Today this relationship is known as the Two Row Wampum Treaty. It was commemorated last summer with a historic paddle from Onondaga to Oneida to Kanatsiohareka to Troy then landing in New York City. The paddle created a new Haudenausaunee community of peace patriots that is still alive today.
Initiated by Jake Edwards and his son Hickory at Onondaga they partnered with NOON the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation to organize the paddle. Joined by the Seneca, Tuscarora, Cayuga, Oneida, Mohawks and many peace loving Americans paddled, slept, ate, and organized a floating peace community. Just like other Haudenausaunee communities throughout New York, southern Quebec and Ontario we began each day by giving thanks to the Great Mystery for making it all possible. Old friendships were renewed, new ones made and most importantly we acted on our Good Minds to get along in the worst and best circumstances of the canoe trip. Each stop on the paddle attracted locals into our peace community. In the midst of uncontrolled development, polluted water, nuclear waste, and the eminent threat of fracking, our paddler community pulled together not only to battle the waters of the Hudson but the uncontrolled growth and environmental destruction that is Americana.
Original Instructions were shared with anyone and everyone who would take the time to listen, reflect and identify what each one of us needs to do to secure a lasting peace with friendship. The paddle was not without the usual complaints of daily living, misunderstandings, different personalities and limited resources. Something happened to everyone on the paddle last summer, all I know for sure is, I was changed by the experience. On August 9, 2013 the paddlers landed at Pier 96 and hundreds joined them in a walk across Manhattan to the United Nations after settler and Haudenausaunee dignitaries treated once again. The United Nations held the annual Indigenous Peoples Day events and this year the paddlers were there to witness Haudenausaunee diplomacy.
The Buffalo based Indigenous Women’s Initiatives (IWI) is celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day with educational events on the United Nations 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the dismantling of the Doctrine of Discovery. Buffalo’s progressive movements join us to network and support one another’s struggles for peace, justice and a future for our children. IWI educates the public on the needs of Indigenous Peoples. The right to an economy, the right to prior, free and informed consent before anything that affects us is done to us, the right to our intellectual property are only a few of the goals IWI works for. This year Indigenous Peoples Day August 9 and IWI’s work to implement the UNDRIP was celebrated on the road and in the Hudson River with the paddlers.
As the 400th year of Two Row Wampum Treaty of Peace and Friendship draws to a close, IWI will again celebrate the rights of Indigenous Peoples. This year IWI is hosting the Full Moon Rising Concert/Dance Thursday December 12, 2013 from 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm at “Babeville’s” Asbury Hall 341 Delaware Avenue Buffalo NY 14202 to celebrate United Nations Human Rights Day (12/10) by honoring the paddlers of the Two Row Wampum 400 year Anniversary.
Headliner Pure Fe-North Carolina Tuscarora vocalist and song writer; Daygots Leeyos-Oneida beat singer; Al White-Cayuga Drummer on the Red Road Two Row Big Drum; Brenda Jonathan-Seneca and the Tonawanda Women Singers are a few of the all Indian line up of performers who IWI will honor for their participation in the Two Row Wampum Paddle. Along with Masters of Ceremonies Tonawanda Seneca Gary Parker; Eva Bighorse-Cayuga Navajo Hoop Dancer; Curtis Waterman-Onondaga blues band Table Top Three; Robert and Ken Parker’s blues band Freight Train and Friends; and Buffalo’s own Haudenausaunee singers “Do:soy:weh” will donate their time and energy to raise funds for IWI’s work to promote Indigenous Peoples Human Rights and the rights of the Creation to exist. Once again we will renew our friendships and honor the Two Row Wampum Paddlers with singing, dancing, traditional food, and our good minds while the Paddlers will share their experience, strength and hope with us.
A $20 ticket gets you in the door, your food and a chance for a door prize. There will be vendors, raffles in our alcohol/drug free environment. Children are welcome to dance and sing with the Haudenausaunee singers and dancers.
Tickets are available at the door, online from www.eventbrite.com for a small processing fee, Talking Leaves Bookstore’s two locations 3158 Main Street, Buffalo NY 14219 and 951 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo NY 14222; Burning Books, 420 Connecticut, Buffalo NY 14213; Jan’s Smoke Shop, Bloomingdale Road near Akron, NY; and Iroquois Smoke Shop, Rt 438, near Gowanda NY 14071; and from IWI’s supporters at the Cayuga Share Farm- Dan Hill; near Rochester Barbara Mahooty; at Tonawanda Rez Gigi Ground and Brenda Jonathan; at Tuscarora Rez near Sanborn Lori Printup, Tim McKie, Marilyn Hill and Ann Printup; In Buffalo Dinah Porter, Alan Jamieson, Theresa McCarthy, Nancy Napieralla, Maria Maybee, Shannon Seneca, Lavon Young, Geri Hens, Celina Irene, Gayle Porter, Terry Hill, and Mae Chambers; at Allegany Rez Sue John; at Cattaraugus Holly John, Cyrus Schindler Sr, Josie Pierce, Roberta Huff and Jenny Button. A special nyaweh goes out to sponsors Ross John Enterprises; Aaron Pierce and the Peace Givers; and Eric White’s ERW Enterprises for their continuing and generous contributions for the advancement of Indigenous Peoples. For more information about the Indigenous Women’s Initiatives’ work and this event call Michelle Bancroft-Mohawk and IWI Administrative Assistant; Nancy Johnson Onondaga and IWI Director or me, Agnes Williams Seneca and IWI Coordinator at 716-332-6988 or email us at Nyawehskanoh@gmail.com or check out our Facebook pages and websites www.IWInitiatives.org and www.IWInitiatives.org. Come on out and join us!