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The Sacred Waters of the Haudenosaunee and the Trauma of the Erie Canal
October 21, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Saturday, October 21 at 1:00 PM at the Skä•noñh- Great Law of Peace Center [6680 Onondaga Lake Pkwy, Liverpool, NY 13088]
For millennia, waterways in Haudenosaunee territories have been profoundly important. In the Haudenosaunee cosmology, water is sacred as fundamental to all life. Therefore, while waterways were used for transportation, as food resources, and as locations for settlement, it was widely agreed among Indigenous peoples that they also be protected. The Erie Canal disrupted the natural flow of water, essentially damning watersheds so as to flow in an east-west direction. As Laurence Hauptman has discussed in Conspiracy of Interests: Iroquois Dispossession and the Rise of New York State, the creation of the Erie Canal corresponded with the dispossession of the Haudenosaunee. Transformation of the landscape throughout the 19th century had profound environmental effects and traumatic consequences on Haudenosaunee relationships to their lands.
Jake Edwards is a citizen on the Onondaga Nation and sits on the Council of Chiefs. He has extensive knowledge of Haudenosaunee environmental history and often speaks throughout the world on Haudenosaunee values. A sovereign nation on 7,300 acres south of Syracuse, Onondaga is a proud member of the Haudenosaunee (“People of the Long House”), an alliance of six Native American nations sometimes referred to as the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations. Other members include the Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora nations.
Philip P. Arnold is Associate Professor and Chair of Religion Department at Syracuse University as well as core faculty in Native American and Indigenous Studies. He is the Founding Director of the Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center (www.skanonhcenter.org/). His books are Eating Landscape: Aztec and European Occupation of Tlalocan (1999); Sacred Landscapes and Cultural Politics: Planting a Tree (2001); The Gift of Sports: Indigenous Ceremonial Dimensions of the Games We Love (2012) and Urgency of Indigenous Religions (University of New Mexico Press, forthcoming). He is a founding member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON),(www.peacecouncil.net/NOON/index.html) and established the Doctrine of Discovery Study Group (www.doctrineofdiscovery.org) He is also the President of the Indigenous Values Initiative(www.indigenousvalues.org).