Three hundred neighbors gathered to share gentle words of neighborlycamaraderie, song, and dance in the gymnasium of the Onondaga Nation School on the evening of Tuesday, February 22nd for the closing celebration of the second year of the Onondaga Land Rights series.
Chief Sid Hill gave an official greeting to begin the evening’s festivities. The moderator for the night’s celebration was Andy Major, a pillar of the Syracuse social justice movement, and representing local organizations; Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, commonly known as “NOON”, and the Syracuse Peach Council SPC. Sherri Hopper shared the moderator position to honor the conclusion of the second series by explaining the social dance songs of the Haudenosaunee.
Andy Major spoke about this year’s work of the Onondaga Land Rights & Our Common Future and said, “The educational series which started in February 2010 featured 13 events addressing a wide range of issues from Onondaga Lake to hydrofracking to the Great Law of Peace, having several thousand attendees through the year learn and share together.”
For several hours the gymnasium became exhilarating as seen in the smiles of participants and through the beating sound of the water drum, as community residents, our neighbors, students from the Haudenosaunee Promise program, along with students from College of Forestry ESF, and LeMoyne College intertwined together as one circle of dance and friendship. It was a wonderful evening ending with great food and drinks prepared by sisters, Joanne Hart and Loretta Thomas.
Andy’s closing comments on behalf of NOON and SPC were, “We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with the Nation and working to educate our community about the concerns of the Onondaga people so that together we can work for a better future for all in this region.”
The efforts of the Onondaga Nation community and its connection with the residents of Central New York is exceptional because there is no other native community model which works with their non-native neighbors to build and unite as one neighborly community for the collaboration and respect for one another.
There are many individual people to thank, “Niawenha” to all of you, along with the following organizations for their support of the Onondaga Land Rights Series, they are: Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) and sponsored by Syracuse University, SUNY ESF, Le Moyne College, Empire State College, Onondaga Community College, seven other colleges and universities in the region, Interfaith Works, the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation and the Syracuse Center of Excellence. Done:toh.