|The following story was written and reported by Talli Nauman, Native Sun News Health & Environment Editor. All content © Native Sun News.
Paddlers arrived by canoe in Manhattan en route to U.N. headquarters Aug. 9, to mark the 400th anniversary of the treaty that formed the basis for ensuing North American peace agreements between indigenous nations and settler governments.Courtesy/U.N. Information Centres
Canoe, horseback trek for Iroquois treaty culminates on International Day of the World’s Indigenous
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News
Health & Environment Editor
NEW YORK - Hundreds of paddlers arrived by canoe in Manhattan en route to U.N. headquarters Aug. 9 after traveling from Albany on rivers and horseback to mark the anniversary of the first treaty of the Six Nations Confederacy – concluded 400 years ago, in 1613, between Dutch immigrants and the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, of the Onondaga Nation.
After a 150-mile journey, in which some participants rode horseback, finishers attended an event with members of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to observe the International Day of the World's Indigenous People.
The topic of this year's international observation was "Indigenous Peoples Building Alliances: Honoring Treaties, Agreements and Other Constructive Arrangements."
The theme aimed to highlight the importance of upholding accords between states, their citizens and indigenous peoples that were designed to recognize indigenous peoples' rights to their lands and establish a framework for living in proximity and entering into economic relationships, according to the U.N.
"We must ensure the participation of indigenous peoples – women and men – in decision-making at all levels,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the event. “This includes discussions on accelerating action towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and defining the post-2015 development agenda.”
The canoe and horseback trek was part of the Two-Row Wampum campaign, so-called after a beaded belt by the same name.
The Two Row Wampum belt is the symbolic record of the first agreement between Europeans and American Indian Nations on Turtle Island (North America). This covenant formed the basis for subsequent treaty relationships made by the Haudenosaunee and other native nations with settler governments on the continent.
The agreement outlined a mutual, three-part commitment to friendship, peace between peoples, and following parallel tracks forever -- “as long as the grass is green, as long as the rivers flow downhill and as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.”
Through the years, the Haudenosaunee have sought to honor this mutual vision and have increasingly emphasized that ecological stewardship is a fundamental prerequisite for a continuing friendship, according to faith and other community organizations, both local and international, which sponsor the campaign.
The river trip and related events sought to attract local people and tourists to the Hudson to “learn and be inspired to create an equitable and sustainable future for all in the Hudson Valley and beyond.
“We aim to educate and inspire attendees to transform their relationship to the river and all parts of the natural world, incorporating a sense of historic responsibility for the environment and justice for the original inhabitants of this land,” organizers said in a written statement.
They held a cultural and educational festival in Albany on July 27 to launch the flotilla that arrived in Manhattan on the International Day of the World's Indigenous People.
The Aug. 9 date was proclaimed by the U.N. General Assembly in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (1995 – 2004).
In 2004, the assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade, from 2005 – 2014, with the theme of "A Decade for Action and Dignity."
The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) held its 12th forum in May in preparation for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, ordered by the U.N. General Assembly for 2014.
The forum is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council, with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.
(Contact Talli Nauman, NSN Health and Environment Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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