Two Row Wampum Festival on Onondaga Lake
The Two Row Wampum Festival, the main Syracuse event for the statewide Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is set for Tuesday, July 2 from 12 noon to 9 pm at Willow Bay on the north end of Onondaga Lake. Onondaga paddlers launch that morning from the Onondaga Nation for a 14 day trip to Albany, NY. At the Inner Harbor, non-native allies will join them to paddle in two rows across Onondaga Lake, landing at the festival at Willow Bay, bringing to life the imagery of the Two Row Wampum belt. The symbolism represents the ability to live side-by-side in peace and friendship, respecting each others’ distinct ways of life and sovereignty, recognizing a joint responsibility to care for the environment.
“While the main paddling journey for this year-long campaign is from Albany to New York City down the Hudson River,” notes event organizer Terry Eckert, “we’re excited that Central New Yorkers will have the opportunity to see this 400 year old treaty brought to life here in our community and to learn about the importance of this founding agreement of peace and friendship. Our family-friendly event will offer many ways to appreciate and learn about this culture and history.”
The festival will feature presentations by Tonawanda Seneca educator Jamie Jacobs, ecologist and author Sandra Steingraber, Jake Edwards of the Onondaga Council of Chiefs, Onondaga Nation General Counsel Joe Heath and others. The diverse musical performers include Daygots, Cornbred, Colleen Kattau, Akuma Roots and the Gunrunners. The Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers will lead participatory social dancing and the free event includes children’s activities and stories, Haudenosaunee artisans, native foods and more.
Hickory Edwards, of the Onondaga Nation Kayak and Canoe Club, has spent the past five years reviving the use of his peoples’ ancient waterways. He will lead both the paddle from Onondaga to Albany and then the longer trip from Albany to New York City on July 28-August 9. “Our ancestors made this great agreement on our behalf 400 years ago. Now is the time for us to think about the people living in the next 400 years.”
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.
To learn more, call 315-701-1592 or visit www.HonorTheTwoRow.org.