July 2014 - The Onondaga Nation's Relationship with the Lake


The People

From time immemorial, our ancestors lived near Onondaga Lake. The Lake, its waters, plants, fish, shore birds, and animals are an intrinsic part of our existence.
Long ago, the Peacemaker brought together the five Nations on the shores of Onondaga Lake to bury the weapons of war and form our government. The Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy meets at Onondaga.
The Lake is the living sum of everything in its watershed: the fish, the people, the plants, the soils, the tributaries. Onondaga Lake provides water which should be safe for
drinking. Fish and birds make their home in and around the Lake. Food and medicinal plants grow along the shores of the Lake.
The Lake was a place for people to fish and hunt. It was a place for children to
play and swim and learn. Delegations would arrive at Onondaga for Confederacy meetings by traveling along the Seneca River to Onondaga Lake.
We are carrying out our responsibility to the Lake. We take our children and grandchildren to important places around the Lake and teach them the proper names and stories for them. We have our own name for the Lake, one which conveys the respect and sacredness of the place and the proper relationship with it. Someday we hope to share this knowledge with our neighbors.
We will work to remove the contamination from the Lake and surrounding land. We will ensure that the Lake is clean enough to drink the water and eat the fish. We will strengthen our culture and begin healing.

On this we agree.

Quoted from Onondaga Nation’s Vision for a Clean Onondaga Lake



Action Alert:

Click the link below to email the Onondaga County Legislature and County Executive Mahoney with a request to extend the public comment period and hold additional public hearings on the Lakeview Amphitheater Draft Environmental Impact Statement.



Onondaga County has released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Lakeview Amphitheater. The public comment period began July 9 and is currently intended to run for only 30 days. The materials, which exceed 600 pages, can be accessed at: http://www.ongov.net/environment/amphitheaterdocs.html.

Key dates include:

Wednesday, July 23rd 11AM, Onondaga County Court House Legislative Chambers (Room 407, 401 Montgomery St, Syracuse): The only scheduled public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The timing of this hearing will severely limit working people’s ability to make their voices heard.

Tuesday, August 11th: The expected close of the 30-day comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. This short time frame will make meaningful review and comment on the proposal almost impossible and the comment period is expected to close before key documents, such as the remediation plan for the site, are available for public review.

What can you do?

  • Email the County Legislature and County Executive today to ask for:

    • an extension of the public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to 90 days

    • at least 2 additional public hearings accessible to working people

Click the following link to sign your name to an editable email letter provided by Citizens Campaign for the Environment: http://www.citizenscampaign.org/alerts/mailto-form.asp?id=8CF96AC8-A3A6-4F6E-902B-047147325FCF


If you’d like to write a personal letter to your County legislator, you can find contact information here: http://www.ongov.net/legislature/members.html

(If you aren’t sure who your legislator is, you can visit votesmart.org and use their “Find Your Elected Officials” search engine. You can also call the Legislature’s clerk, Debbie Maturo, at 435-2070.)

Please be sure to also send copies of your email to:

  • Like” and share the Facebook page of Citizens for a Better Plan, a coalition of local civic and environmental groups calling for an extended comment period and additional public hearings:


  • Learn more by visiting the following links:




  • Read the Onondaga Nation’s Vision for a Clean Onondaga Lake, which calls for the complete removal of industrial wastes:


  • Share what you’ve learned with family, friends, and neighbors.



    Do refer to the three-day feast that was enjoyed by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag as the first giving of thanks that the Pilgrims and Wampanoag shared together. It wasn’t “The First Thanksgiving,” since many people around the world were already giving thanks for successful harvests long before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock. Do discuss how the Wampanoag saved the lives of the Pilgrims.

Kay Olan, Mohawk/Wolf Clan


July 18, Friday, 7:30 to 8:45 a.m., F.o.c.u.s. Forum, on Onondaga Lake’s Damage Assessment Atrium in City Hall Commons – 201 E. Washington St. in Syracuse - first floor. PRESENTERS: Kenneth Lynch, Regional Director for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Alma Lowery, attorney with the Law Office of Joseph Heath, General Counsel to the Onondaga Nation and Anne Secord, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist with the U.S. Department of Interior.


July 26 & 27, 2014 - 10am – 6pm, 23rd Annual Native American Dance & Music Festival, Ganondagan State Historic Site, Victor, NY. http://www.ganondagan.org/Events-Programs/Dance-Music-Festival


August 12 - 15, 9:30am – 4pm, Seneca Art & Nature Camp, Ganondagan State Historic Site. Hands-on Art & Outdoor Nature Camp Experience for youth 9 – 12 years old. http://www.ganondagan.org/Events-Programs/Seneca-Art-Nature-Camp


August 12 - 7-8:30 pm, NOON Steering Committee Meeting, Syracuse Peace Council, 2013 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, open meeting. Since new people often have a lot of questions, we recommend talking with Carol Baum, Syracuse Peace Council Staff (315-472-5478315-472-5478 , carol@peacecouncil.net) or Sue Eiholzer, NOON Volunteer (315-492-2684315-492-2684 , rsue@twcny.rr.com) before the meeting.


August - Doctrine of Discovery Study Group – Canceled. We will resume meeting again in September.


August 20 - 6 pm, Shaleshock CNY, Community Room, Onondaga Free Library. Anyone interested in learning more about local anti-hydrofracking efforts in CNY or to connect to these efforts is encouraged to attend. shaleshockcny.org/index.html


More information will be provided later on these events.

September 27-28, Wooden Stick Festival at Onondaga Lake, Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center


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