Interstate 81 is a busy highway. People are in a rush to, or from Syracuse when they come by the Onondaga Nation. As they now are cruising by, they will see a new sign that was erected this July. It reads, “Onondaga Nation – Onoñda’gegá’ Ganakdagweniyo’khe” with a logo representing the Onondaga Nation. The phrase Onoñda’gegá’ Ganakdagweniyo’khe is translated into “Onondaga the Capital.” The Capital refers the Onondaga is the Firekeepers of the Haudenosaunee council. It is here where the leaders from the other Nations come to meet. This sign is an important reminder to travelers passing through that Onondaga still continues the traditional governance of clan mothers and chiefs which was given to us on the shores of Onondaga Lake by the Peacemaker. The sign illustrates that there has been continuous governance by the people for hundreds of years. The symbol on the sign shows the headdress of the Onondaga surrounded by 14 figures. These figures represent the 14 chiefs that the Peacemaker instructed to make decisions for the people. The color used is purple and white. These colors are important to the Haudenosaunee as it is the color of our wampum, our way of recording historical events. So it was good to see the sign on my way back from Syracuse. It was a good reminder of the history that is tied within the Onondaga Nation.
Note: If you shorten Ganakdagweniyo’khe to Ganakda that is what we call Ottawa, the Capital. Change the “G” to a “C” sound and you have Canakda. Cool.