12, 2003) CANANDAIGUA For non-Native Americans, the
treaties that were signed with the original occupants of North America
are a fascinating part of history.
the Haudenosaunee people, they're the foundation of cultural
boundaries, our land rights all our rights are based on these
treaties," said Tadodaho, a member of the Onondaga Nation and
leader of the Haudenosaunee.
that native people call our own is based on these treaty obligations,"
he said. "I don't see why we, as a people, should have
to give up our freedoms so that other people can pursue theirs."
remarked Tuesday during a brief interview on the importance of the
annual observance of the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty after he addressed
a crowd of about 300 area residents and Native Americans who attended
the annual ceremony at Council Rock in front of the Ontario County
Canandaigua Treaty, invoked as recently as 1997 to thwart attempts
by Gov. George Pataki to levy state tax on the sale of tobacco and
gasoline on Native American reservations, is the legal document
signed by Timothy Pickering, an emissary of President George Washington,
and by Native American leaders. It established peace more than two
centuries ago between European settlers and the Six Nations of the
Iroquois, called Haudenosaunee.
David Koon, D-Perinton, the only federal or state representative
who attended on Tuesday said the treaty is as important as the legal
document that became the basis of freedom for all American citizens.
was something that was put in place more than 200 years ago, just
like our Constitution," said Koon. "It's something
that should be honored."
Bruinix, who teaches history in the Williamson Central School District
in Wayne County, said he has attended the ceremony annually "for
at least 10 years" because of the importance of the treaty
to local history.
ceremony is proof that the treaty is not just history," Bruinix
Claus, a Tuscarora elder, said such commemorations are especially
important to native people "because a lot of our history isn't
the ceremony, Native American elders from various tribes, including
Chester Mahooty, a visiting Pueblo from New Mexico, offered prayers
and blessings on behalf of native and non-native people alike.
people say we are the lost tribe," Mahooty said. "We're
not. We're still here."