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Onondaga land rights issues to be explored in public educational series sponsored by SU, SUNY ESF, local organizations
Onondaga land rights issues to be explored in public educational series sponsored by SU, SUNY ESF, local organizationsFebruary 20, 2006Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
A new, yearlong lecture series, “Onondaga Land Rights and Our Common Future,” will provide Central New Yorkers the opportunity to hear from the Native American community and experts on the topic of the Onondaga Land Rights Action and what lies ahead in the coming year. This free series of programs will take place about every month at Syracuse Stage (820 E. Genesee St., Syracuse) and involves a historic collaboration of many departments and organizations at Syracuse University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), along with several community organizations.
“We’re thrilled by the breadth of the program, the speakers we’ll be bringing and the visibility for the issues that we hope to flow from the events,” says organizer Linda Alcoff, professor of philosophy and director of SU’s Women’s Studies Program. The broad program covers issues including spirituality, law and sovereignty, Native American history and international indigenous issues.
The series begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, with “The Nation in Our Midst: Onondaga History, Culture and Spirituality,” featuring Tadadaho Sid Hill and Clan Mother Audrey Shenandoah. Other presenters will include Onondagas and other Haudenosaunee people, scholars and community activists.
The Onondaga Nation, seat of the Haudenosaunee?or Six Nations Confederacy?is the oldest continuous participatory and democratic government in the world, and Onondaga leaders have been invited to participate in the proceedings of the United Nations. This sovereign and distinct nation of people was indigenous to this area before Europeans arrived; on March 11, 2005, the Onondagas asserted their right to re-claim lost land with the Onondaga Land Rights Action filed in U.S. federal court.
Among the goals of the Onondaga Land Rights Action are to restore to the Onondaga Nation recognition of title to its aboriginal territory; recover possession of portions of this territory from New York State and willing sellers for the use of the Onondaga people; secure a continuing source of revenue from the nation’s lands without displacing persons from the land; and protect and conserve the natural resources within and affecting the nation’s land, as a means of safeguarding all citizens’ rights to a natural, healthy environment.
“The Onondaga Land Rights Action is based in the indigenous values of the Haudenosaunee,” says Philip Arnold, associate professor of religion in The College of Arts and Sciences. “Values of a clean environment, social justice and a long-term vision for economic development make this legal action distinctive from other land claims in our area. This educational series is a unique opportunity for all Central New Yorkers to reflect on the essential issues of critical importance for us all to have a viable future.”
Organized by Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON), the series is sponsored by more than 20 departments and organizations at SU and ESF?including the Chancellor’s Office and the Department of Religion?as well as community organizations including the InterReligious Council of Central New York and the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation. Each program will be followed by a reception. The full schedule is available with additional information athttp://www.peacecouncil.net/NOON/commonfuture.
“The opportunity that this project will provide to deepen knowledge about, and understanding of, some of the critically important concerns of our sisters and brothers in the Onondaga Nation and Haudenosaunee Confederacy is outstanding,” says Jim Wiggins, executive director of the InterReligious Council of Central New York. “Opportunities to converse without falling into the rigidity of taking sides in debate are rare. This project calls for a willingness to listen to and thereby learn from each other.”
In conjunction with “Onondaga Land Rights and Our Common Future,” a team-taught class by the same name is being offered this semester; it is an interdisciplinary forum that explores environmental stewardship and the many dimensions of Onondaga Land Rights. Topics covered include traditional environmental knowledge and stewardship; Onondaga Nation history and culture; Haudenosaunee women and their influence on women’s rights movements; the history of government relations with native nations; and Haudenosaunee influence on U.S. democracy and culture.
Instructors for the course are Robin Kimmerer, professor of environmental and forest biology at ESF; Jack Manno, professor of environmental studies at ESF and executive director of the Great Lakes Research Consortium; Thane Joyal, environmental attorney in Syracuse; Freida Jacques, community liaison of the Onondaga Nation School; and several guests, including Joe Heath, a member of the Onondaga Nation Legal Counsel, and Arnold.
“Onondaga Land Rights and Our Common Future” Full Schedule
All events are free and start at 7 p.m. at Syracuse Stage (unless otherwise noted)For more information, contact NOON at 472-5478 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, Feb. 27″The Nation in Our Midst: Onondaga History, Culture and Spirituality”Speakers: Sid Hill, Audrey Shenandoah and othersTuesday, March 7″Visionary Women: The Haudenosaunee and the U.S. Women’s Rights Movement”Speakers: Jeanne Shenandoah and Sally Roesch WagnerTuesday, April 11″The Onondaga Nation Encounters European Settlers”Speaker: Robert W. VenablesTuesday, April 18″‘Discovering’ the U.S.: Haudenosaunee Influences on U.S. Culture and Democracy”Speaker: John MohawkTuesday, June 13″Onondaga Land Rights: All Central New Yorkers Can Benefit”Speakers: Bea Gonzalez, Wendy Gonyea and Andy MagerTuesday, July 11″The Onondaga Nation and the U.S. Courts”Speakers: Joe Heath and othersMonday, Sept. 11″Racism, Native American Human Rights and the U.N.”Speaker: Oren LyonsMonday, Oct. 16″Environmental Stewardship: Restoring the Land and Waters of the Historic Onondaga Nation Territory”Speakers: TBATuesday, Oct. 17″Daylong Teach-in at ESF on Environmental Issues”Speakers: Philip Arnold, Steven Brechin, Emmanuel Carter, Freida Jacques, Robin Kimmerer, Jack Manno, Ed Michalenko, Sharon Moran and othersTuesday, Oct. 17″Environmental Stewardship: Finding Common Ground Between Traditional Environmental Knowledge and ‘Modern’ Environmental Science”Speaker: Winona LaDukeMonday, Nov. 27″Why Native American Sovereignty Makes Sense for All of Us”Speakers: Tonya Gonella Frichner, Richard Loder and Scott LyonsWednesday, Dec. 6″Grand Finale: Come Sing and Dance With the Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers”Women’s Building Gym, Comstock Avenue.