Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign Logo

Dear Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign supporters:

As we reflect on our recently completed trip down the River Which Flows Both Ways (also called the Hudson River), the Two Row Campaign organizers would like to express our appreciation for your support and report on our historic journey. As you know, this physical effort to bring the Two Row Wampum agreement to life is a centerpiece of our year-long project. We encourage you to share this report and other updates through your newsletters, websites, email lists, facebook pages, etc.

Two Row Wampum Travels the Hudson

The Two Row Wampum trek down the River Which Flows Both Ways (also called the Hudson) was a truly remarkable journey which exceeded nearly all of our expectations. The 15 day journey was the centerpiece of the year-long Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign.

F0llowing a daylong educational and cultural festival at Russell Sage College in Troy on July 27, our journey began from Rensselaer the following morning. The spirits of the paddlers and other participants remained strong despite the grey skies and heavy rain showers. Following words of support from Tadodaho Sid Hill, Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons and local political leaders, over 200 paddlers formed two rows: Haudenosaunee and other native paddlers to the west and non-native allies to the east and began our 13 day journey. Paddlers had come from near and far to demonstrate their solidarity, forming two nearly equal rows on the water.

Our trip was full of good spirit, community, education, singing, laughter, reflection, good food and adventure. We camped along the river most nights, occasionally having to journey further inland. Educational and cultural events were held daily with small or large groups joining us from nearby communities to learn about the Two Row and offer support. Our lead paddlers and accompanying safety boats kept everyone safe and served their critical function, providing a rest for weary paddlers and helping some folks off the water nearly each day. We kept to our schedule with occasional modifications due to weather or other circumstances beyond our control. When our presentation in Cold Spring was delayed an hour by a downpour, Onondaga Clanmother Wendy Gonyea began her remarks by noting, "we are reminded who is really in charge, and it isn't us."

As we paddled together, camped together and shared food together a sense of connection and shared purpose deepened among the participants. People maintained a sense of humor and consistently maintained the "Good Mind," despite the logistical challenges inevitable in such a voyage. Well over 500 people joined us as paddlers or ground crew for some part of the journey. A large enough group made the whole trip to maintain a sense of continuity while other people joined us for shorter periods of time.

Visitors were moved by the compelling image of our massive flotilla paddling down the river in two rows, and by the powerful words of Haudenosaunee leaders and allies describing the history of the Two Row and our shared commitment to renewing this vision of living sustainably together in peace and friendship. At the events we read our Declaration of Intent asking people to make an individual and collective commitment to observe the Two Row. Many hundreds signed on.

On Friday August 9, our flotilla of kayaks and canoes landed at Pier 96 in New York City, culminating 13 days of Two Row paddling down the Hudson. A crowd of nearly 2,000 people cheered as the tired paddlers emerged from the water. Tadodaho Sid Hill offered a traditional Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address to the gathered throngs. The Dutch Consul General, Rob de Vos, renewed the 400 year old friendship between the Dutch and the Haudenosaunee. Hickory Edwards proudly displayed the replica wampum belt which he and others and carried from the Central Fires of the Onondaga Nation beginning on July 2.

A spirited group of 500 people marched across Manhattan to the United Nations, carrying a nearly 40 foot Two Row flag through the streets of New York. The chant, "Honor the Treaties, Protect the Earth," reverberated between the skyscrapers. Representatives of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues welcomed the Two Row and the Dakota Unity Riders, with whom we linked up at several points on our journey. A large group then entered the United Nations to attend their program marking the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. At that gathering, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the paddlers saying, “Today, we highlight the importance of honoring treaties.” He and other UN officials noted the power of the Two Row journey, as did Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons: “The Two Row is the oldest and is the grandfather of all subsequent treaties. It set a relationship of equity and peace. This campaign is to remind people of the importance of the agreements.”

The following day, a Two Row Wampum Festival was held along the Hudson near Battery Park featuring speakers, music, native crafts and more. The festival was a lovely close to a magnificent trek down this River we all share. As we emphasized throughout the journey, our arrival in New York City was both a beginning and an end. While we were delighted with the success of our effort and the way it moved both participants and observers, our campaign's ambitious goals of peace, friendship and sustainability remain far from realized. We hope you'll remain engaged as we move forward to develop plans for what lies ahead.

You can check out videos, lots of photos, more detailed reports and updates at our website, on facebook and twitter.