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October 19, 2012
Dear friend of the Onondaga Nation:
Hopefully youve already heard about NOONs ambitious plans to partner with the Onondaga Nation on a statewide initiative to mark the 400th anniversary of the Two Row Wampum Treaty, signed between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch in 1613. Building on NOONs work in Central New York over the past decade, we aim to polish the chain of peace and friendship by extending our educational efforts throughout New York State.
We need your support to make this effort successful. Our projected budget is just over $350,000. Foundations and other funders want to know that there is support for the project. Please contribute as youre able, $25, $50, $500 or more.
The Two Row Wampum Treaty provides an inspirational vision for peaceful co-existence of different nations living on and caring for the same land. This first treaty between the Haudenosaunee and Europeans is understood by the Haudenosaunee to be the foundation upon which all subsequent treaties were made. The treaty outlines a model of friendship and peace, of living in parallel forever, working together where appropriate and respecting one anothers sovereignty. It describes the Haudenosaunee and the Europeans as traveling down the river of life in different vessels, both agreeing not to interfere in the affairs of the other or to damage our shared environment. For centuries the Haudenosaunee have observed this treaty. We aim to use the 400th anniversary to build public support for U.S. governments and peoples to begin to keep up our side of the agreement.
Taking Our Vision to the People
With the dismissal of their land rights case in federal district court (September 2010) and related court decisions, it appears that there is little chance for justice and reconciliation for the Onondaga through the U.S. legal system. On February 28, Onondaga leaders traveled to Washington, DC to file the legal appeal for their case and to publicly appeal to the people of the United States to hold our leaders accountable for the treaties that the US has signed. Along with powerful statements by Tadadaho Sid Hill, Faithkeeper Oren Lyons and Clanmother Freida Jacques, they showed the original George Washington Wampum Belt created to mark the Treaty of Canandaigua (watch the video on the NOON website). Following up on this action by the Onondaga, NOON has developed this innovative project to take the vision of the Two Row directly to the people of New York State.
Upholding our Side of the Treaties
The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is an education and advocacy initiative to raise awareness of and build support networks to address two interrelated issues: the devastation experienced by the Haudenosaunee nations as part of centuries-long efforts to destroy or assimilate them, and the environmental damage in both our local region and around the globe. We will develop a broad alliance between New Yorkers and the Haudenosaunee with the ultimate goal of achieving social and economic justice for the Haudenosaunee as well as environmental justice for New Yorkers. We believe that by working with the Haudenosaunee, New York State can become a leader in promoting innovative public policies that drive positive ecological and social change.
Spreading the Message Across New York State
Our broad educational effort will feature a strong internet presence, social media, publications for schools and the community, and educational and cultural events throughout the state. The campaign will highlight the importance of the Two Row Wampum Treaty and call on New York State and the U.S. to live up to their obligations under this and subsequent treaties. Environmental cleanup and preservation will be a core component of the campaign message.
Traveling Side-by-Side Down the Hudson River
A focal point of the campaign will be a symbolic enactment of the treaty with Haudenosaunee and other native people paddling side-by-side with allies and supporters down the Hudson River from Albany to New York City in the summer of 2013. We will begin that effort with a festival in Albany on Saturday, July 28 and the flotilla will set off the following morning. We will stop along the route for educational and cultural events and arrive in New York City on Friday, August 9 to participate in the United Nations International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. The following day (Saturday, August 10) we will hold a larger event to close the enactment. We expect to involve diverse people and organizations, including educational institutions, environmental groups, faith communities and social justice organizations. There are already over 40 co-sponsoring organizations!
In addition to funding to support the project, we also need people power. There are active committees working on educational programming, outreach, fundraising and planning of the symbolic enactment. We can use help in all those areas.
Please consider how you can support this important project with both your time and money.