The highlight of the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign’s epic canoe trip has been watching the handcrafted dugout canoe lead the Haudenosaunee across Onondaga Lake in unison with the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation paddlers side by side in perfect rows. It was an emotional moment for many.
Before the fifth day of paddling commenced on July 6, the paddlers unraveled the replica Guswenta (Two Row Wampum), from its waterproof bag. They took time as a group to remind themselves what the trip means—peace and friendship, but most importantly, raising awareness for the state of Earth, and the waters that are necessary for all life. Shortly after, while mist was still rising off the dark waters, the canoes navigated into New York State’s canal system.
Paddlers started at the Onondaga Nation in Syracuse, New York and in five days traveled between about 70 miles by water to Rome, New York. They traversed Onondaga Creek, Onondaga Lake, Oneida Lake, and Fish Creek before reaching Lock 20 of the New York State canal system.
Starlight Edwards, Onondaga Nation Turtle Clan, who just graduated from the Onondaga Nation School, says she got involved because she wanted to keep the Two Row Wampum Treaty alive. She said her experience has been exciting, because in the past she has followed the paddlers by car, but this year she is on the water, and has been able to see things she has never seen before, like the wildlife.
The paddlers will next dock in Peebles Island, New York on July14. The trip to Albany is scheduled to begin on July 28, where they will continue to paddle 172 miles down the Hudson River to New York City.