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Mohawk Return to Schoharie Valley

Tax deductible
Celebrating 1 Year Rematriating Skywoman's Forever Farm




November 17th, 2023, marks the end of our first year rematriating what was once known as Bohringer’s Berry Farm in Schoharie Valley. Today, we celebrate our first year of actively reconnecting, rematriating, and remembering who we are as Onkwehonwe (Original Beings) throughout our return home process living at Iotsi’tsison (Skywoman’s) Forever Farm. The Waterfall Unity Alliance intends for the work we do to be a liberating pathway back to balanced and harmonious ways of being: true sovereignty.

We recognize that Bohringer’s Berry Farm has served as a central component to the Schoharie Valley Community. Engrained within the DNA of the land in which the farm resides are the memories of the Kanien’kehá:ka (People of the Flint) Turtle Clan Village in which Onkwehonwe (Original Beings) once embodied the original instructions. From the moment Kawenniiosta Jock signed her name to close on the farm, its frequency shifted. From the moment she signed, a great healing process has begun that has opened doorways to deep reconnection for Onkwehonwe.

Kanien’kehá:ka Mother Kawenniiosta Jock (Wolf Clan) and her family have been co-creating and planting the seeds for their people to join them in the return to Skóhare. This includes Liv Watyana’li:yo Bigtree (Onyota’a:ka [People of the Standing Stone], Turtle Clan), who joined the Waterfall Unity Alliance team and lives on-site. The rematriation process, including all decision making, manifesting & visioning, has been led by Onkwehonwe women. Primarily, Kawenniiosta & Liv, along with Kanien’kehá:ka Mother Jackie Hall (Wolf Clan). Roger Jock (Kanien’kehá:ka, Bear Clan), member of the Waterfall Unity Alliance Advisory Board, has upheld masculine responsibilities throughout this process as the loving father, grandfather, and brother he is.

Over the course of this past year, Onkwehonwe children, elders, women and men have visited the land, co-creating in different ways. Onkwehonwe men have come to lend a hand in renovating the farmhouse since November, creating a safe space for families to live and visit. Onkwehonwe children, women, and families have placed their hands in the soil, picked berries, and planted seeds that grow beyond the physical. We’ve held ceremonies, a social dance, and cooked meals that have fostered a deep reconnection within ourselves and the land. The more connected we are with creation, the more connected we are within ourselves. The healing within ourselves gets reflected within the land and vice versa. Our connection with creation is a relationship of oneness. We are merely a reflection of all of life.

When the illusions of separation dissolve, we are reminded of the importance of gratitude. Singing the songs of our people, feeling the land as we shuffle & stomp our feet, seeing our hands graze the berry fields, and hearing the laughs of our children are the sensory indicators of our DNA activating. As we return home in the physical, we return home to ourselves. To witness our people come back home has been a fulfillment of dreams deep within the DNA of our lineages.

We have dedicated this past year to allowing the land to rest, as this land has been subject to harsh chemicals and cash cropping for at least 60 years. This rest process has allowed for our people (living onsite and visiting) the grounding space and solitude necessary to align with our authentic healing timelines. As Onkwehonwe, we have committed to transitioning the farm to an organic regenerative agricultural working farm. It is integral to us that all processes and decision making on the farm aligns with the current of all of creation. This past October, we celebrated the first rematriated action toward regenerative agricultural practices when we sprayed organic microbes and biochar on all of our berry fields, sourced from American Indian Microbes. We look forward to this next year of milestones at Iotsi’tsison Forever Farm, as this is only the beginning.

None of this could be possible without the help of our donors, allies, and supporters. Niawenko:wa (A Grand Thank You) and a waterfall of love to all of our donors, allies, and supporters for your commitment that has contributed harmoniously to carrying us forward each step of the way as we walk this pathway of healing.

Much work remains as we move forward into this timeline. Support is needed. A major piece to walking the path to sovereignty for Kanien’kehá:ka is ensuring the future generations can always consider Iotsi’tsíson Forever Farm to be home. For this to be truth, we still have to raise money to pay off the loans that were deemed necessary to purchase the farm. Within the spirit of new beginnings, we are calling for assistance and support to make this a reality. Along with paying off loans, it is integral that our children and young families have active language and traditional teachings to ensure our way of life is carried onto the future generations. A Kanien’kehá:ka elder is coming to Ioskóhare with her family to take on the responsibility of providing teachings for our children. A Kanien’kehá:ka farm manager is coming from Ganienkeh to be a guiding force ensuring the abundance of this farm remains for future generations. We are in need of funds to maintain a salary for our newest team members. Funds for learning supplies and farm equipment are needed as well, to ensure the responsibilities of this land can be fulfilled.

As we walk into our second year in this ever-evolving vision, we walk with gratitude in our open-hearts, power in our steps, and awareness in our presence with the glow of unconditional love. A waterfall of abundance to all. Niawenko:wa for hearing us, seeing us, and bearing witness to this pathway to sovereignty.


IOTSI’TSISONS (SKYWOMAN’S) FOREVER FARM:
On a spectacular ribbon of cropland in the Schoharie Valley of Central New York sit the remains of an ancestral Turtle Clan Mohawk village on what is now a 60-acre working berry farm. On November 17, 2022, with donations from all of you and supporters across Turtle Island for this #Landback effort, the Waterfall Unity Alliance closed on the farm!!! We did it!!! Kawenniiosta Jock, our board president, signed the papers. It has begun...
Niawen, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. Stay tuned regarding the opening of Iotsi'tsisons Forever Farm, including pick-your-own berries, a re-vamped farmstand, and many opportunities to come and be a part of this healing process. A beautiful process of rematriation has been unfolding since closing on the farm in November. We appreciate your patience, love and support as Onkwehonwe women and families take in this sacred moment in herstory.

This is truly a collective effort of healing here at the Eastern Door, and we are humbled and lifted up by your support. Let love triumph! Let us walk the path of peace and healing together! We look forward to seeing you at the longhouse, picking berries at the farm, working and celebrating together.

OUR STORY:
For many Kanien’kehá:ka, also known as the Mohawk People, it is the fulfillment of a long held vision and a life-long dream to return to ancestral lands in the Schoharie Valley and begin a community guided by Kaianere'kó:wa (the Great Law of Peace). In the Mohawk language, Schoharie means the place of cleansing or renewal. The area is known as the Eastern Door of Turtle Island (North America), and the Kanien’kehá:ka are the keepers of the door.

Traditionally, the East is the place of beginning, where the sun is born each morning, where all faith and hope live. It is said that if we can transform and heal in the East, the place of origin, then everything can be transformed.

The return of the Kanien’kehá:ka to the Valley is also part of an urgent task of environmental justice. The Akwesasne reservation is home to the largest PCB dump in America, courtesy of General Motors, Reynolds and Alcoa. Akwesasne is now designated as a toxic superfund site, with extremely high rates of cancer and other rare diseases in the community.
"The prophecies all say that to survive, we have to return to original ways," says Kawenniiosta Jock, a land defender, artist, master seamstress and mother of five from Akwesasne. "We need to form and nurture communities that will sustain us through the climate tipping point and beyond. We know that there are ways to live in balance. We have not forgotten, but we need to decolonize our minds and ways of life and return to the ways of our ancestors. This is why I want to come with my children back to the Schoharie Valley. It’s time for us to plant the seeds of return."

We are raising money to support the return of the Kanien’kehá:ka to the berry farm in the Schoharie Valley and establish a new community with a cannery, language immersion school, summer camp, and many other beautiful projects planned. The pick-your-own berries and farmstand will be maintained, but the farm will be transitioned back to organic adnd regenerative practices, re-introducing native plants, wildlife, and traditional varieties of Haudenosaunee foods and medicines. It is part of a long-term vision of creating a bioregional forest, water, wildlife and food sanctuary in the Valley under indigenous stewardship for the continued existence of life on earth for the next seven generations and beyond.
THE LONGHOUSE
Kanerahtiio Roger Jock, Kawenniiosta's father and a Kanien’kehá:ka leader from Akwesasne, has carried a vision of return for his people back to their ancestral lands in the Schoharie Valley his whole life. “We have to start here — at the beginning,” Kanerahtiio says. “It is a homecoming to the Mohawk Valley where my great grandmothers lived and where my DNA comes from. We have to come back home so our people can heal. Our original instructions are still living in these mountains."

Kanerahtiio's vision of a peaceful return to the Valley has brought people of all different cultures and political stripes together in collaboration. Over the past two years, he has led a team of volunteers in building the frame of a traditional Longhouse five miles from the berry farm, next to a sacred waterfall called Kahonrakén:ra, The White Spout. It is an initial point of return and a powerful symbol of peace and unity that has opened up relations and inspired others to donate land and resources as part of this community-supported landback effort.
“We, as a society, have lost our spiritual connection to the land,” Kanerahtiio explains. “We are at a time when Mother Nature is fighting extinction. Human beings are spiritually and physically sick, and many people are seeking new ways of living in balance.” he says. "We need to bring back Sken:nen and Konoronhkwatselas, which mean Peace and a perfect love for one another and all things. It is time to make the old ways new again."

A beautiful vision has taken root in the Schoharie Valley. We are truly the generation here to heal. If not us, then who? And if not now, then when? We invite you to be a part of this healing process as we write a new story together.

Please donate to our campaign to help us complete the next phase of the Longhouse, renovate the farmhouse and begin a language immersion and original lifeways school at the Berry Farm. Niawen for your support.
KAIANERE'KÓ:WA (THE GREAT LAW OF PEACE)
When the Europeans first came to these shores, the People of the Longhouse taught the visitors the principles of Kaianere'kó:wa (the Great Law of Peace) and how their democracy worked, including how to caucus, methods of impeachment, the supremacy of governance by and from the people, and the exclusion of religion from governance. These teachings strongly influenced the fledgling colonial democracy as they broke free from the monarchies of Europe. However, the men who framed the U.S. Constitution left out central elements of Kaianere'kó:wa (the Great Law), including the equality of women and the inherent rights of nature.

“It is time to restore balance and return to the original message of Kaianere'kó:wa," says Kanerahtiio. "The Longhouse will be a place of teaching about principles of living in harmony as they were given to our people. As the oldest living democracy in the world, our traditional ways of living in right relationship can help us heal together."

We look forward to welcoming everyone at the Longhouse and berry farm with shared song, prayer and purpose, making our minds as one as we move through this time of transformation together.
ABOUT KANERAHTIIO
Kanerahtiio Roger Jock is Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) Bear Clan from Akwesasne. He has taught cultural awareness all over the U.S. for over 40 years as part of the White Roots of Peace Movement. He worked as an ironworker and foreman for several decades and is a leader in land and sovereign rights in the Akwesasne region. Kanerahtiio is dedicated to doing everything possible to stop the destruction of Mother Earth and re-activate the original instructions of Peace, Power, and Righteousness. He is the Elder Advisor of the Waterfall Unity Alliance, an organization whose mission is to protect the Schoharie Valley and all Earth, build alliances across movements and cultures, and work collaboratively to create solutions to the existential challenges of our time.
ABOUT KAWENNIIOSTA 
Kawenniiosta Jock is Kanien’kehá:ka, Wolf Clan from Akwesasne. She is an activist, land protector, master seamstress and artist. Kawenniiosta has helped develop traditional support, cultural teachings and language preservation within the tribe and is a traditional full-spectrum doula. She uses indigenous methods and medicines to support women with their general reproductive health throughout all stages of pregnancy, mooning, and menopause. Kawenniiosta is an alumna of the Akwesasne Freedom School and is passionate about her people and culture. She carries a heart-felt desire to create a space of love and healing for each and every individual. 

ABOUT THE WATERFALL UNITY ALLIANCE
The Waterfall Unity Alliance was formed in 2015 when traditional Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) leaders from the Akwesasne Reserve returned to their ancestral valleys to stand with local residents against a major fracked gas pipeline planned for the area. As part of a coalition of grassroots groups, they successfully pressured New York State to deny the pipeline’s construction permit, setting a historic precedent as the first defeat of a federally approved interstate pipeline. It was a huge win, but our prayer was not just to stop a pipeline but to open the doorway for the Kanien’kehá:ka to return to their ancestral lands. This central prayer has guided the work of the Waterfall Unity Alliance over the last seven years. We continue to work on protecting the Earth, building relations across movements and cultures, and collaborative solutions to the existential threats of our time, including community-supported landback initiatives in the Schoharie Valley.






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Waterfall Unity Alliance
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Waterfall Unity Alliance
 
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