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Resolution of Respect for and Reconciliation with the Onondaga Nation

(RTF file)

Submitted to the Syracuse Common Council

    1. Whereas the Onondaga people lived in the region which includes Syracuse for many hundreds of years before the arrival of European colonists; and

    2. Whereas the Onondaga Nation have acted, and continue to act, as good stewards of this region; and

    3. Whereas the Haudenosaunee Confederacy was established on the shores of Onondaga Lake hundreds of years ago, ending warring between the five nations and establishing the first democracy in the Western Hemisphere; and

    4. Whereas the Onondaga Nation and its people assisted colonists who entered their territory, at times helping them survive through sickness and difficult conditions; and

    5. Whereas the United States government modeled many of our institutions on those developed by the Haudenosaunee as recognized in Concurrent Congressional Resolution S.76 (1987); and

    6. WHEREAS nearly all of the land of the Onondaga Nation was taken by New York State through a series of actions which violated federal law and the US Constitution; and

    7. WHEREAS the City of Syracuse greatly benefits from the many different cultural and spiritual contributions of its highly diverse population; and

    8. WHEREAS the City of Syracuse and Onondaga Nation have worked cooperatively to revitalize Onondaga Creek and prevent the creation of ineffective Regional Treatment Facilities; and

    9. WHEREAS the City of Syracuse and Onondaga Nation have worked cooperatively to revitalize Onondaga Lake; and

    10. WHEREAS in recent years the City of Syracuse has made a major commitment to environment sustainability; and

    11. WHEREAS the Onondaga people were subjected to centuries of efforts to undermine their culture, spirituality and way of life; and

    12. WHEREAS the Onondaga people have persistently maintained their spiritual and cultural practices and their traditional governing structure despite long-term efforts to subvert those practices; and

    13. WHEREAS the Onondaga Nation has consistently sought diplomatic means to resolve problems with neighboring governments and people; and

    14. WHEREAS on September 13, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a resolution long-championed by the Onondaga Nation, which recognizes the "urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources."

    IT IS HEREBY FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Common Council of the City of Syracuse:

    1. Recognizes the traditional government of the Onondaga Nation as the legitimate representatives of their sovereign nation;

    2. Joins the Onondagas in their call for social “healing” and environmental cleanup;

    3. Calls on the citizens of Syracuse to build positive and respectful relations with their Onondaga neighbors;

    4. Calls on the State of New York to work cooperatively with the leadership of the Onondaga Nation to redress the injustices which have occurred; and

    5. Calls on the United States government to ratify and support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    5-13-09