Iroquois Thanksgiving Address

We gather with family and friends today to give thanks for all that we are grateful for. One of the most beautiful, whole, and comprehensive givings of thanks I’ve heard is that of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois); their Thanksgiving Address is better described by the Iroquois Indian Museum than by me:

“The Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen means ‘The Words That Come Before All Else.’  It is also referred to as ‘The Thanksgiving Address,’  ‘Giving Greetings to the Natural World,’ or ‘The Opening Address.’ Traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) say these words to begin and end each day, important meetings, ceremonies, and socials.   The Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen is an expression of acknowledgement, greetings, love, and appreciation for every part of the Natural World.  The Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen helps to bring the thoughts of the people together.  It is a way by which the Haudenosaunee remind themselves that human beings are only one strand in the Web of Life and that we are all connected to each other and to the rest of Creation.”

I feel that this thanksgiving has vital meaning for all of us who now occupy “Turtle Island,” the lands of the original people of North America. Perhaps these profoundly beautiful words from those who have lived here long before the rest of us can rise up through us from this ancient ground and help us live right with each other and with this land. They have as much meaning for all of us now as they have had at any time. Indeed, our future depends on thoughts such as these.

“Below is a video presentation featuring Mohawk storyteller Kay Olan’s spoken version of the Thanksgiving Address along with images created by Tuscarora graphic artist Melanie Printup Hope supplemented with additional photographs.”

I post this with the approval of the Iroquois Indian Museum. They ask that we please visit their website and support their museum by donating or becoming a member.

“We are a private non-profit with no line items or support from the government and can use all the help we can get.”

[By the way, if the embedded video below does not show up on your device (e.g., I don’t see it on my iPad; maybe because it is flash), just click on the link below to go to the original location on the Museum’s website.]

Check here for the original web location of this video.

 

 

First People’s Festival, DeWitt Park

In episode 59 of Walk in the Park, we go to DeWitt Park in downtown Ithaca, NY for the annual First People’s Festival on October 5, 2013, held alongside the Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival. It continues to show this Saturday and Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13 (or 97.3). See the full schedule of showings for the next week. Or, you can watch it online on this page below!

First Peoples Festival, DeWitt Park, Ithaca, NY, Ithaca College, Haudenosaunee, Iroquois

A Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) banner hangs behind information tables at the First Peoples Festival on Oct. 5, 2013 in Ithaca, NY's DeWitt Park.

The high point of our visit is an interview with Brandon Lazore of the Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), the artist who painted the wampum belt mural on the side of the Seneca Street garage in downtown Ithaca. We also interview Tariq Widarso, an Ithaca College student who has been working with the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, which seeks to revive Native American treaties and care for our environment. And we also talk with Laura Kerrigan of Primitive Pursuits, who explains some Native American traditional skills they were teaching at the festival.

Finally, we take a couple of walks into Buttermilk Glen in Buttermilk Falls State Park; and we marvel at beautiful photographs by Roger C. Ingraham, who loves to study the nature of light reflected from water, particularly during the fall color season.

Episode 59 was recorded 10/9/13 at PEGASYS Studios in Ithaca, NY

Iroquois Dances, Peace Park, Concerts, Rainbows, and Rugged Mountains

Aerial photograph by Bill Hecht of a rainbow over Cayuga Lake by Sheldrake Point

During one of our recent rain storms, aerial photographer Bill Hecht took this picture of a rainbow over Sheldrake Point, on the west shore of Cayuga Lake in Seneca County.

These are some of the things we see in the current episode (#51) of Walk in the Park TVWe move around the world, from rainbows in the Finger Lakes, to summer concerts in parks, to the annual peace ceremony in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, to the Ganondagan Native American Festival of Music and Dance, and finally to Torngat Mountains National Park in Labrador, Canada.

It is showing this week on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable channel 13 (or 97.3). [Note: Time Warner Cable has made some changes to its channels, so if you are having trouble finding this channel, see the PEGASYS page (scroll down for instructions).]

Next showings will air this weekend, Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., and next Tuesday, August 13, at 8:00 p.m.       Or

You can watch it right here!

Finger Lakes Fall from the Sky

In this episode of Walk in the Park TV, we go up in the air again with Bill Hecht’s dazzling photographs of the Finger Lakes at the peak of fall colors. See it here online!

We see Ithaca, Sixmile Creek valley, Buttermilk Falls State Park (including the effects of Hurricane Sandy), Cayuga Lake, Myers Point in Lansing, Keuka Lake, Bluff Point, Keuka College, Canandaigua Lake, Naples NY, the Hi Tor State Wildlife Management Area, and the Great Hill (or South Hill) at the south end of Canandaigua Lake, considered (and celebrated) by the Seneca Nation of the Iroquois as their birthplace. Great Hill is now a Finger Lakes Land Trust Preserve.

Bluff Point Keuka Lake Finger Lakes fall colors

Bill Hecht’s photo looking south over Bluff Point at the confluence of the East Branch and West Branch of Keuka Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region.

We fly over Cliffside State Forest in Schuyler County and Cornell University’s Arnot Forest in Tompkins County. We also go back to Ithaca Falls for a couple of short videos of the waterfall, fall colors, and fly fishermen in Fall Creek, set to music. And we reconsider a couple of maple tree species in the western United States, the bigtoothed maple in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, and the bigleaf maple on the West Coast, from California through Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and just into southeast Alaska. Join host Tony Ingraham in this scenery-packed episode of Walk in the Park (#26).

Click here to see all Walk in the Park TV episodes, or go to Tony’s YouTube Walk in the Park playlist .

Produced by Owl Gorge Productions at PEGASYS Studios, Ithaca NY’s public access television center, run by Time Warner Cable.

You can watch the show online right here,

Or, you can catch the show on Time Warner Cable public access television channel 13 in the Ithaca area:

Thursday,  9:00 p.m.

Saturday, 10:00 a.m.

Sunday,    10:00 a.m.

Tuesday,    8:00 p.m.

It also is shown at other times as the station manager chooses.

 

 

George Washington and the Finger Lakes

Though George Washington may never have visited the Finger Lakes region, he had great impact here.

George Washington

Like many Indian nations along the colonial frontier, most of the Iroquois, who call themselves Haudenosaunee, ended up supporting the British during the Revolutionary War. Britain had made peace with many Indian nations following their victory in the French and Indian War. In addition, the Iroquois had been long-time, well-established allies of the British during the colonial period. And to many Iroquois, the presence of the British government was perceived as the only restraint on large numbers of illegal white settlers encroaching on Iroquois territory that spanned across what is now New York State.

Joseph Brant, Mohawk

Joseph Brant, Mohawk political and military leader during and after the Revolution

Though the Six Nations Confederacy of the Iroquois was officially neutral, those who chose to oppose the Americans, along with their British and Loyalist allies, carried out very effective attacks on the frontier in the Mohawk Valley and in Pennsylvania. They became such a drain on the Continental Army’s resources that George Washington sent an army under Generals John Sullivan and James Clinton to carry out a scorched earth policy in the Finger Lakes region and areas nearby.

USA-Stamp-1929-Sullivan_Expedition

Thousands of troops burned perhaps more than fifty Haudenosaunee towns and destroyed enormous stores of grain, orchards, and standing crops in the late summer of 1779. Though few had been killed outright, this devastation caused terrible hardship and starvation for the Haudenosaunee people. It is said that the invasion earned George Washington the nickname among the Iroquois as the “Town Destroyer” (though this term for him may have originated earlier).

Burning the Town of Coreorgonel

The Continental Army burns the village of Coreorgonel in what is now Ithaca in September 1779. The town was occupied by Tutelo people, who had fled the British in Virginia in the 1750s and were taken in by the Cayugas of the Six Nations. Coreorgonel is now commemorated in the Town of Ithaca in Tutelo Park. Painting by Glenn Norris; image provided by the History Center of Tompkins County.

During Washington’s presidency in the 1790s, however, his image was rehabilitated among the Haudenosaunee. He was perceived as unusual among American leaders in taking stands to honor Iroquois territorial and national sovereignty. This culminated in the Treaty of Canandaigua in 1794, which gave official mutual recognition of national sovereignty between the Six Nations and the United States; a treaty, which, though violated at times, is still honored by both governments.