Washington, DC On February 22nd 2016 a delegation of
Haudenosaunee Chiefs and Clanmothers and observers met with federal
representatives. The meeting was held in the Treaty Room of the
Eisenhower Executive Office Building a few doors from the White
House. The meeting was to recognize and honor the signing of the
1794 Treaty of Canandaigua.
Our protocols were followed as was expected by our history with
the United States. Chief Howard Thompson began with an Opening Address
and then followed by Words of Condolence as is our custom when meeting
with another Nation. One of the United States representatives
then spoke words of condolence to us. Finally the Invitation Wampum
was returned signifying that the two parties have agreed to begin
Robert Antone began by explaining the Silver Covenant Chain.
The Chain is three silver links that binds our white brothers and
the Haudenosaunee in Peace, and Friendship forever. Robert reminded
us that when our two Nations meet, we are polishing the chain and
that we should do this more frequently.
Faithkeeper Oren Lyons spoke about the Canandaigua Treaty. That
the time of the treaty, the United States was in its infancy and
needed peace, not war. So George Washington reached out to us with
his agent, Timothy Pickering to secure peace on the western frontier.
In doing so, the United States recognized the Haudenosaunee as a
powerful Nation with its own laws and governance. Faithkeeper Oren
Lyons reminded us that this treaty was not only ratified by the
United States Congress, but also by George Washington who presented
us with a 6 foot wampum belt, The George Washington Belt, to sanction
the treaty in the ways of the Haudenosaunee.
Tadadaho Sid Hill then thanked our hosts for this meeting. Tadadaho
then requested further meetings in the near future to discuss those
items that have cause the Silver Covenant Chain to be tarnished,
one of these being the border issue.
Then federal representatives Mike Connor Secretary of the Department
of Interior. Celia Munoz, Director of Domestic Policy to the White
House, Jerry Abramson from Inter- Governmental Affairs, and lastly
Heather Higginbottom, Deputy Secretary of State spoke encouraging
words of the meeting between the Haudenosaunee and the United States.
In closing Heather Higginbottom presented treaty cloth to the Haudenosaunee
Delegates acknowledging that the Canandaigua Treaty is still being
honored by the United States. A small amount of cloth was given
to each Nation.
Oneida Chief Howard Elijah spoke a few words about the significance
of this meeting and then closed the meeting in the Oneida language.
In order to help the federal representatives understand the Opening
and Closing address, the book, Words Before All Else
from our Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force were shared with
It was a good meeting with hopefully more to come.