Native Peoples and Allies Plan Campaign to Renew the Two Row Wampum

Submitted by Bonnie Baker Duff

400-year-old treaty for peace and friendship to be marked with educational events and historic canoe trip

January 14, 2013—Syracuse, NY—The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, a statewide educational initiative throughout 2013, announced the formal endorsement of the campaign by the Haudenosaunee Grand Council today. The campaign was initiated by Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, a project of the Syracuse Peace Council, and developed in partnership with the Onondaga Nation and members of other Haudenosaunee nations.

The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign promotes understanding and respect for the Native Nations to which we are all neighbors, and our common obligation to protect the environment, by holding educational events throughout the year and an epic canoe trip on the Hudson River to celebrate a 400-year-old treaty that forms the basis of diplomatic relations between the Haudenosaunee and the United States to this day.

“The Haudenosaunee see the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign as a valuable tool to raise awareness and knowledge of this historic agreement,” the Grand Council statement reads. “…this Wampum is called the Grandfather of all treaties as it established protocol for future agreements…”

The kickoff event will be held in Syracuse on February 11, 2013 at Syracuse Stage. Events will be held around the state featuring Haudenosaunee speakers covering a range of topics from history to hydrofracking, social dancing and other cultural sharing. The highlight of the campaign will be a thirteen day trip down the Hudson River from July 28 to August 9, 2013 with Haudenosaunee and allies paddling side-by-side from Albany to NYC, enacting the imagery depicted by the Two Row Wampum, the Haudenosaunee documentation of the treaty.

The Two Row Wampum belt has three rows of white and two rows of purple beads made from quahog clam shells. One purple row represents the Haudenosaunee in their canoes and the other represents the Europeans in their ships, each carrying their way of life, culture and government (thus the Two Row Wampum).

“In the Two Row, we agreed that we will travel the river of life together, side-by-side,” explains Jake Edwards, of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs. “One line represents a canoe carrying our laws, culture, language, government, and way of life; the other line represents the same for those who have come to this land. We will not try to steer each others’ boats, but travel side by side linked by peace, friendship, and forever, respecting the laws of our mother earth, natural law.”

“The concepts explained in the Two Row Wampum are not only the basis for all of the subsequent treaties between the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch, French, English, and Americans, they provide a model for relations between our peoples in the modern era,” suggests Lindsay Speer of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation. “Treaties are made by two peoples; we represent the other side of the treaty now. The Haudenosaunee are still here, and deserve our respect and understanding. This campaign is about the present and future relations between our peoples.”

“We urge governments such as the United States and Canada to ‘polish the Covenant Chain’ that binds this agreement and provides a process to work as Brothers to resolve our issues such as jurisdiction, land, water, treaty rights, self-governance and peace between all nations and Mother Earth,” the Grand Council statement explains.




















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