Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign plans symbolic canoe trip down Hudson this summer

A recent meeting of Two Row Wampum representatives in New Paltz. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

A recent meeting of Two Row Wampum representatives in New Paltz. (photo by Lauren Thomas)

The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign is gearing up for a symbolic reenactment of the Two Row Treaty, which will include a 13-day canoe/kayak voyage along the Hudson River from Albany to New York City. The boaters will end their waterborne journey at the United Nations on Aug. 13, which is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.

The Two Row campaign is a partnership between the Onondaga Nation and Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON). They are developing a broad alliance between the Haudenosaunee and their allies in New York and throughout the world to continue to grow their statewide advocacy and educational campaign that “seeks to achieve justice by polishing the chain of friendship established in the first treaty [1613] between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch immigrants.”

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According to project coordinator Andy Mager, there are several goals of the Renewal Campaign, which has in the last year held more than 30 educational programs, events and festivals throughout the state, including at SUNY New Paltz, the New Paltz Community Center, Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Ithaca, Poughkeepsie and New York City. “The events in New Paltz were very well-attended, and we have a lot of people in the mid-Hudson area who are very involved in the campaign,” said Mager.

The goals of the campaign include educating people on the history of the relationship and treaties between indigenous people and European immigrants, encouraging understanding and “inspiring everyone to honor those Native treaties, as well as working in partnership to deal with the many things that are threatening all of our existence, like global warming, hydrofracking for natural gas and the violence and wars that continue to plague our world.”

The Two Row Wampum Treaty, celebrating its 400th anniversary, is depicted on a belt with two woven strands of purple lines traveling along a “parallel track on the river of life.”

“This is the grandfather of all treaties,” said Chief Oren Lyons, the faith keeper of the Turtle Clan and a longtime member of the Onondaga Nation. Chief Lyons has also taught Native American History at the University of Buffalo for over 30 years.

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