"I think about how right now we have the opportunity to let down our fences and to share the information no matter where we obtained it from or from who, and that we no longer have to worry about the threat of who is going to use it in a bad way, and I believe we all have to act with respect to what our communities and all of our communities would want us to do and pass onto our children and grandchildren."
ONONDAGA NATION GATHERING
Braiding the Sacred Gatherings continue to evolve. We work directly with Tribal leadership to plan each event to follow cultural protocols and contribute a lasting impact within the community. Each time we gather, our relationships with each other and our seeds are strengthened.
Braiding the Sacred introduced new members to its network in 2017 through four highly successful events. The first, held at Ganondagan Historical Site in New York, brought more than 50 Indigenous Corn Growers together for three days of discussion, tours, and Cornhusk crafts. The 12 youth in attendance formed a Youth Circle and offered insights to the rest of the gathering on how to best involve them in the process of growing, saving, cooking, and sharing Corn. Each evening ended with a social dance, bringing everyone closer together. The three gatherings following Ganondagan, hosted by the Shiprock Chapter of Navajo in New Mexico, Oneida Nation in Wisconsin, and Osage Nation in Oklahoma combined elements of discussion, seed sharing, storytelling, song, dance, and traditional meals. Reciprocity played a large role in the discussions as well as the activities - at each event, members assisted the local community with preparing or harvesting gardens or fields, giving back to the hosts for their generosity.
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The Pueblo of Acoma gathered ten departments to plan and participate in the gathering, and the involvement made for an especially well-rounded event. Beginning at Sky City, the Old Pueblo, where their ancestors have dwelled for well over 1,000 years, participants were honoured with a tour that concluded with young rain dancers who braved the snow and wind to welcome...
Ho-Chunk Nation graciously hosted the ninth Braiding the Sacred gathering on their homelands just outside of Black River Falls, Wisconsin. The event aligned with the Green Corn Dance and ceremony, which allowed for an even deeper connection to the spiritual nature of Corn and our relation to her. Ho-Chunk Nation spiritual and governmental leadership welcomed us to the pow-wow grounds...
Akwesasne Mohawk began with a ceremonial return of seeds. A small number of seeds were grown out at Onondaga Nation Farm and brought back to Akwesasne for the community to plant. We wrapped up by planting a field of Six Nations Blue Corn and weeding the strawberry beds.
Fall of ’17 brought us to Shiprock Chapter of Navajo Nation to prepare horno-steamed Corn and cornbread. First and second graders from the local Diné Charter School presented songs and skits in their language, focusing the attention of everyone in the room. We returned the favour by building raised beds and transplanting trees into their garden.
Seneca Nation hosted its gathering at Ganondagan Historical Site. The rain prevented everyone from planting Corn, so instead, a Seneca Faithkeeper gave us tours of the museum and replica longhouse, sharing the history of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and Ganondagan. Each night closed out with a social dance.
Pueblo of Pojoaque jumped off without introductions because everyone was obsessed with the three sisters seeds laid out to share. The Governor and War Chief of Pojoaque Pueblo welcomed us and offered delicious atole, a cornmeal drink. As our gathering closed, everyone brought the seeds to the center of the dance arena at the Gathering for Mother Earth. Angela Ferguson...
The first gathering brought us together at the ancestral meeting site of the Haudenosaunee Council of Chiefs. The talking circle felt especially powerful as 50 of us shared our spiritual connection to Corn. On the last day, we planted Tuscarora White Corn at Onondaga Nation Farm, starting a tradition of helping the host Nation with a food project.