The Iroquois Are Not Giving Up, By Julian Taub, The Atlantic
O’siyo. The Iroquois are doing their part to keep relations with other Natives and other countries on the positive side.
“The history of Native Americans is still alive and ongoing, and the Iroquois Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee, wants you to remember that. On Friday, August 9 th, their chiefs met with the Dutch Consul General on the 57th Street Pier in Manhattan to honor the 400th Anniversary of their 1613 treaty with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It was the culmination of a thirteen-day paddle down the Hudson River, with daily stops where tribe members and supporters held cultural events and lectures, and invited locals to listen to traditional music and dance. The goal: not just to raise consciousness over land rights–suits for which have been uniformly unsuccessful in recent years–but to build support for enforcing treaties between natives and settlers for the purposes of environmental conservation, as well.
According to Tonya Gonella Frichner, founder of the American Indian Law Alliance, It brings to the public’s attention that we have operated on a nation-to-nation level with our European brothers and sisters for four hundred years. It’s about extending a hand of friendship to the Netherlands, to all of the member nations of the UN, and to our neighbors…
Todadaho Sid Hill, the spiritual leader of the Iroquois states, “We’ve just about exhausted our avenues in the U.S. courts, we have one more appeal, which is going to be denied, and then we go to the world courts. The language used in publicity materials has been resolute: The Onondaga will not settle for other methods such as casinos that have been used to resolve other Native American claims.
To an outsider, the fight might look futile. When the chiefs and most of the Iroquois were asked what keeps them fighting for their people in the face of so few victories, they responded: ‘the children.’.. Without the help of the Iroquois, the Dutch settlers would have never survived here, said Dutch Consul General Rob de Vos. Each side held one end of the Two Row Wampum belt, signifying the treaty between the Iroquois and the Dutch, and having exchanged gifts, the chiefs then smoked a peace pipe with de Vos.
he paddlers and their allies, singing songs, beating drums, and carrying flags of the Two Row, then marched to the UN for an event titled Indigenous Peoples Building Alliances: Honouring Treaties, Agreements and other Constructive Arrangements, intended to open up dialogue for the resolution of treaty disputes between natives and settlers throughout the world.
The UN conference room filled with people from member states and indigenous delegates. It opened with a Mohawk traditional greeting and introductions from UN chairmen, including Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. The panelists revealed that the Two Row Wampum Campaign was the inspiration for the theme of the conference.”
“Let’s stay together, listen to each other, and find solutions for future generations.”
~Dutch Consul General Rob de Vos~(In response to the treaty between the Iroquois and the Dutch).
There are many legends about how the Indians learned about the Talking Feather/Talking Stick. Here is one of them…
Long years ago, when gods walked this earth and the land beyond, Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei, were together enjoying the warm summer day. It was a day when the crickets chirrupted in the waving, green grass,when they noticed a figure moving towards them.
As the figure approached closer Kanati said “Look, that woman is crying, what could be the matter?” “I can not imagine why anyone would cry on such a glorious day.” Replied Asgaya Gigagei. “Let’s ask her.”
As the woman drew nearer, they could see her buckskin was decorated with beautiful designs and colors. She carried a bundle filled with leaves, sage, and colorful stones and feathers. They knew immediately this woman was a holy being.
Kanati asked her “Holy mother, why are you crying so?” The woman looked up in wonder, because she had been walking with her head down. “I’m crying because the men of my village are fighting constantly! Each thinks his ideas for leading the tribe is the best!” Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei glanced at one another, in perplexity. “Why, if there are so many good ideas for leading your tribe, why are the men fighting? And why aren’t you and the other members happy!” The poor woman shook her head sadly and replied, “Yes, you are right, the men do have very good ideas, but every man wants to speak his own ideas, and not listen to anyone else. They all shout and scream at one another so loudly, that it frightens the children who run and hide behind their mothers. The women are sad because their husbands come to the house upset and angry. Furthermore, the tribe is suffering, because no one can seem to make a decision.” Just then a beautiful Eagle was soaring overhead, Kanati called out “Brother Eagle, may I have one of your feathers, there are poor humans in desperate need!”
Bother Eagle replied “Yes” and shook himself until a single iridescent, large feather fell to the ground. “Many thanks and Blessings on you” said Kanati. Kanati made secret signs and prayers over the Feather. Asgaya Gigagei helped him with the blessings. Kanati then said to the woman “This is the sacred Talking Father, it holds great power for the one who holds it. Go back to your people, hold this feather up in the air, all who see it will fall silent, and listen to what you have to say. Tell all who listen that from now on, who ever holds this feather, all present within the Circle Council must listen to his words. The feather must then be passed on to the next speaker.”
The woman thanked Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei and hurried back to her village where there was total chaos!. Everyone was talking at once, children were crying, men were screaming at each other. As soon as she held the feather over her head, all became quiet! No one could utter a sound! the holy woman proceeded to give the directions given to her by the gods. She then passed the feather to the first man. He called the Talking Circle together, and each man had his say as he held the feather. From that time on that tribe flourished because they now had direction, and each person could hear and understand what their peers said. The people worked together, to build a great nation. Along the way, they shared the wonders of the Talking Feather with other tribes they met. “And that my friends is the true story of how the Talking Feather came to be!”