Nyaweñha Skänoñ swagwe:gih;
We would like to extend our traditional greeting as our way of being thankful for your health in being here today. As part of the newly formed education committee for the Onondaga Nation, Gaweñnahawi’s looks forward to working towards establishing a positive future for our children. Gaweñnahawi’s, The Onondaga Nation Education Advisory Committee, has been established to maintain a transparent relationship with the LaFayette Central School District and the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs, to be advocates for the educational issues of our students of the Onondaga Nation community. We have committed ourselves to establishing a healthy respectful relationship between the Onondaga Nation and the LaFayette Central School District. Our hope was that under new leadership, we would be able to start with a clean slate, with understanding and mutual respect.
On July 10, 2017 , two of our leaders, Sidney Hill and Wendy Gonyea , along with our Nation attorney, Joseph Heath, attended a meeting with Superintendent Jeremy Belfield, Stephanie Dow (new President of the LaFayette School Board) , Jody Manning (BOCES Superintendent) and LaFayette attorney Colleen Heinrich, which was held at the LaFayette District office. Herein, we optimistically anticipated a new beginning countering the divisiveness that closed the 2017 school year.
At this meeting Superintendent Jeremy Belfield stated the LaFayette Central School District is considering not renewing their contract with the New York State Education Department. Further, Mr. Belfield said, they believe they have the final say in who is hired in the LaFayette District- including ONS, and have already chosen an interim Principal for ONS who they want us to welcome.
This latest action comes again without participation, input, or collaboration with us or any leaders of the Onondaga Nation. Instead of a new beginning with a new Superintendent, we find ourselves in much of the same tired mentality of the past or status quo. The facade of including the Onondaga Nation community in any process, only to have the LaFayette Central School District override our input and decisions, is not consultation or collaboration. Telling us what you have already decided for us is not consultation: it is dictation.
We would like to bring our good minds together for a common understanding of what is the definition of consultation regarding educational matters.
Only by working together, can our children’s future education be accentuated and enhanced. We sincerely hope that we may work together towards fulfilling and enhancing our children’s educational needs and goals. We express our gratitude to the LaFayette School Board for listening to us today and considering our words with open minds.