August 2, 2013

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Two Row Wampum paddlers, Dakota Unity Riders, meet in Kingston

KINGSTON – Members of two separate Native American sojourns met Thursday afternoon in Kingston, to the acclaim of hundreds who waited in the rain to greet them.

The Unity Riders traveled by horseback from Manitoba, and will arrive at the United Nations on August 10. They are trying to protect sacred lands from encroaching developers. The Two Row Wampum group wishes to draw attention to valid treaties executed hundreds of years ago.

Two Row Wampum paddlers make port in foggy Rondout

Thursday's meeting at the Kingston Maritime Museum represented the first time the two groups crossed paths on their respective journeys. They were welcomed by Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo, who offered them a proclamation.

Gallo recalled the Iroquois Constitution, upon which the US Constitution is based. “Pay attention. People like Ben Franklin and the founding fathers were very much influenced by the Great Law of Peace,” Gallo noted.

According to the Two Row Wampum treaty, White and Red Peoples must live in peace and harmony with each other and nature, forever. The treaty is considered by the natives to be the basis of all of their subsequent treaties with European and North American governments,

Tadodaho Sid Hill, traditional leader of Iroquois Confederacy, said it was uplifting to be part of this event.

“Keep battling the government”, Hill said.  “They keep trying to make laws and tell us what to do, what's good for us. We've been around awhile; we know what's good for us. It's not just what our people are saying, you've got to respect natural law. It is very easy to connect with people who are environmentalists.”  

Ulster County Clerk Nina Postupack received a ceremonial peace pipe, and said it was a great honor. She said the Two Row Wampum treaty is the oldest agreement between nations for North America.

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