ALBANY COUNTY A fleet of canoes and kayaks launched Sunday, July 28, to begin a 12-day trip down the Hudson River in honor of the 400th anniversary of a peace agreement made between Dutch settlers and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
For more than a year, members of the Onondaga Nation and Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation have been working on events to honor the treaty through the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign. The hope is for these events to “reinvigorate” the meaning behind the agreement and for descendents of the two cultures to once again work on common goals, such as preserving the environment.
Two Row Wampum Renewal flotilla
The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign flotilla stops for lunch at Henry Hudson Park in Selkirk on Sunday, July 28.
The 1613 agreement is believed to have been made in the area between Bethlehem and Albany where the Normanskill meets the Hudson River. The treaty was then documented by the Confederacy on a belt made with purple and white wampum. The two purple stripes down the belt were meant to symbolize the co-existence of the European settlers and Iroquois Nation as they strive toward common goals. The belt is still in possession of the Confederacy.
On Wednesday, July 24, the Bethlehem Town Board passed a resolution in of the campaign at the urging of town resident Paul Miller and his wife, Nikki, along with Dennis and Mickey Willard.
“We thought it was important for our town to act on a resolution to help acknowledge and renew this relationship because of the connection Bethlehem has to the Hudson, the early Dutch settlers and to a lot of the history here,” said Supervisor John Clarkson. “In fact our town seal ... is symbolic of that early partnership.”
The resolution read, in part, how “Bethlehem and the Haudenosaunee can both benefit from a mutual collaboration and friendship to protect the environment on which we all depend.”
Miller said he wanted to become involved in the campaign because of his Dutch heritage.