Syracuse Post Standard
By Mike McAndrew
The talking is over, and it’s time for dancing.
A yearlong Onondaga Nation land rights lecture series will conclude Wednesday with an evening of Haudenosaunee music and dance at the Women’s Building on the Syracuse University campus.
Instead of talking about weighty issues such as sovereignty, the evening will feature the Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers, a group of native performers, doing social dances.
“We’ll share our songs and dances,” said Sherri Waterman-Hopper, the leader of the dance group. “It’s not a performance. It’s a participatory event. We expect anyone who is coming to actively participate and join in.”
The Haudenosaunee Singers, who number about 15, have performed across New York for nearly two decades.
Ten or more native artists and crafters will exhibit their wares at the Women’s Building, on Comstock Street at Euclid Avenue.
The lecture series, which included Native American leaders such as Tadodaho Sid Hill and Clan Mother Audrey Shenandoah discussing the Onondaga Nation’s history, drew more than 150 people to each of 10 events at Syracuse Stage.
“Nobody wants this series to end,” Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor said last week at one of the lectures.
The turnout pleased its organizers, said Andy Mager, a staffer at the Syracuse Peace Council and member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation.
Mager said he hopes the lectures helped educate people about the Onondaga Nation’s history and sovereignty. That knowledge may affect the tenor of future debates and help avoid a repeat of the angry conflicts between Native Americans and non-natives that developed after the Oneida Indian Nation and Cayuga Indian Nation filed land claim lawsuits, Mager said.
“There has been a strong effort to deny Native American sovereignty. That has been at the core of the tension to the east and west of Syracuse. We wanted our community to respond differently,” Mager said.
The Onondaga Nation filed a land claim suit against New York in March 2005, seeking title to a 40-mile-wide swath stretching from the Thousand Islands to Pennsylvania. New York has asked a federal judge to dismiss the case, contending the Onondaga waited too long to sue.
Mike McAndrew can be reached at 470-3016 or firstname.lastname@example.org