Approximately 500 paddlers are making a journey down the Hudson River in canoes and kayaks which began in Renssalaer in July and will end Aug. 9 in Manhattan.
The Onondaga Nation and Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation are working togetherto recognize the 400th anniversary of the Two Row Wampum Agreement, the first treaty signed between the Haudenosaunee, also known as the Iroquiois, and European Settlers. The treaty was recorded on a beaded belt known as the Two-Row Wampum. The oral history connected to it speaks of allowing all to follow their own path rather than trying to "steer each other's ships."
In addition to the message of respecting one another's rights, the importance of protecting the environment is a key focus for hte participants in the trip, which is over 140 miles.
"It is very much about waterways, taking care of waterways," said Laurie Speer, who will be speaking for the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance Wednesday. "It is so core to what everybody is about. In taking care of our waterways, we also also honor indigenous people subject to all kinds of environmental injustice."
Speer spoke of the issue of pollution of waters in Syracuse, but also issues that hit far closer to home in Rockland County, the opposition to United Water's plan to build a desalination plant in West Haverstraw.
"They are helping us say desalination is not a good direction for Rockland," Speer said. "We are pulling together, honoring the waterways and each other.Ramapough Lunaape Chief Dwaine Perry will offer a blessing and Piermont Mayor Chris Sanders and Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart are expected to speak at the landing at Parelli Park. The paddlers will then set up camp on Rittenberg Field. At 7 p.m., Onondaga elders, paddlers and Rockland Youth will join Perry and and Seeman among other speakers in Goswick Pavillion.
For more about the Two-Row Wampum, go to the website http://honorthetworow.org/ To read about a previous stop in Peekskill, check out this report on Patch.