Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign
Onondaga chief Jake Edwards holding the Two Row Wampum belt
Since January, leaders of the Onondaga Nation, part of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, and Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) have been carrying on a statewide educational campaign commemorating the 400-year anniversary of the Two Row Wampum treaty signed between the Haudenosaunee and Dutch settlers in 1613. “This Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, which continues throughout 2013, is to remind people of the importance of the agreements,” says Oren Lyons, faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation’s Turtle Clan, who has represented the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in world councils at the United Nations and other locations.
The Two Row Wampum belt has three rows of white and two rows of purple beads made from quahog clamshells. 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 other’s boat, but will travel side-by-side, linked by peace and friendship, and forever respecting the natural laws of our Mother Earth.”
The campaign, which includes an epic 13-day canoe trip on the Hudson River scheduled to begin July 28 at Albany and end August 9 in New York City, is devoted to reviewing the mutual commitment of the treaty with a statewide education and advocacy campaign coordinated by NOON and the Onondaga Nation. It offers New Yorkers the opportunity to hear directly from the Native American Nations in their midst about the history of the treaty agreements that today shape relations between New York State, the federal government and native nations. At the core of these agreements is a shared responsibility to protect the Earth upon which all life depends.
“What we hope to achieve in this journey is to educate the people so that they do their part individually, and as peoples, to protect Mother Earth and all the waters that flow for future generations,” says Edwards. Everyone is invited to support the campaign and to join the kickoff festival for the canoe trip.
For an event schedule and more information, visit HonorTheTwoRow.org.Edit ModuleShow Tags