Throughout the summer, members of the Kingston Indigenous Solidarity Network will be selling Two-Row Wampum flags in and around Kingston to raise money for legal battles resulting from land defense and reclamation of stolen land at Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
The Two Row Wampum treaty, also known as Guswhenta or Kaswehnta, is an agreement made between representatives of the Five Nations of the Haudenoshaunee peoples and representatives of the Dutch government in 1613 in what is now upstate New York. The treaty is considered by the Haudenosaunee to be the basis of all of their subsequent treaties with European and North American governments.
Haudenosaunee tradition also records the specific meaning of the belt as follows, in the form of a Haudenosaunee reply to the initial Dutch treaty proposal:
You say that you are our Father and I am your son. We say, We will not be like Father and Son, but like Brothers. This wampum belt confirms our words. These two rows will symbolize two paths or two vessels, traveling down the same river together. One, a birch bark canoe, will be for the Indian People, their laws, their customs and their ways. The other, a ship, will be for the white people and their laws, their customs and their ways. We shall each travel the river together, side by side, but in our boat. Neither of us will make compulsory laws or interfere in the internal affairs of the other. Neither of us will try to steer the other’s vessel. The agreement has been kept by the Iroquois to this date.
The treaty is considered by Haudenosaunee people to still be in effect. Further Haudenosaunee tradition states the duration of the Two Row Wampum agreement:
As long as the Sun shines upon this Earth, that is how long OUR Agreement will stand; Second, as long as the Water still flows; and Third, as long as the Grass Grows Green at a certain time of the year. Now we have Symbolized this Agreement and it shall be binding forever as long as Mother Earth is still in motion.
All proceeds from sales will be passed on to the Tyendinaga Support Committee in Toronto. For more information visit http://www.ocap.ca/supporttmt
We are selling the flags for $15-20 sliding scale. It is one simple way to
financially support anti-colonial struggle on Turtle Island. Learn about
the issues, take its meaning to heart, and fly it with pride. They will be
available at various events around town, at the AKA Autonomous Social
Centre, and can be arranged by emailing the Kingston Indigenous Solidarity
Network at firstname.lastname@example.org