Mohawk Vision Keeper's Return to Ancestral Land

Kanerahtiio Roger Jock, a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) leader from the Akwesasne Reserve, carries a vision of return for his people to their ancestral lands in the Mohawk Valley of Central New York. “We have to come back home so our people can heal," says Kanerahtiio.  "Akwesasne is home to the largest PCB dump in North America. We have extremely high rates of cancer from  the toxic sludge that General Motors, Alcoa and Reynolds used to dump into the River. Our land is sick and our people are dying.”

Kanerahtiio's v
ision of a peaceful return to the Mohawk Valley has brought people of all different cultures and political stripes together in support. This past summer, the local community gathered every weekend to help Kanerahtiio build the frame of a traditional Longhouse on his ancestral soil. 

52228306_1604004730532845_r.jpegThe process of building the Longhouse has also helped to generate widespread support for Kanerahtiio’s larger vision of establishing a regenerative farming community in the Valley. “We have to start here — at the beginning,” Kanerahtiio says. “It is a homecoming to the Mohawk Valley where my great-grandmother and DNA come from… Our original instructions are still living in these mountains.”

Our goal is to raise $300,000 to:

 *complete the construction of the Longhouse
 *secure the land for the Farm Community
 *provide a year of  living expenses for Kanerahtiio & four project assistants to begin the Farm Village.

52228306_1604899644346515_r.jpegGuided by Mohawk principles of sustainability and governance, the Farm Community will be a place where people from all walks of life can come together around the Mohawk’s Original Instructions of how to live in reciprocity with one another and the Earth.

A beautiful vision has taken root in the Mohawk Valley. It is an extraordinary opportunity to heal an original wound of trauma and dispossession and write a new story. We look forward to welcoming everyone at the Longhouse with shared song, prayer and purpose;  making our minds as one as we move through this time of transformation together. 

52228306_1605134523583591_r.jpegTHE LONGHOUSE & THE GREAT LAW OF PEACE
As an initial point of return, the Longhouse — built next to a sacred waterfall —  is a powerful symbol of peace and unity. 

When the Europeans first came to these shores, the People of the Longhouse taught the visitors the principles of 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. 1 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 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 the Great Law of Peace," 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 all heal together."

52228306_1605289142770031_r.jpegTHE FARMING VILLAGE
A few miles from the Longhouse, the remains of an old Mohawk village sit on what is now a working farm. Located on some of the most fertile soil in the world, it is an ideal place to begin a community guided by the Great Law of Peace.  

“I want to revitalize and bring the village back to life with sincere, like-minded people from all walks of life,” says Kanerahtiio. “We were always taught that we needed to have enough food stored for seven years. Our goal is to fulfill these teachings."

Inspired by the vision, the current owner has agreed to partner with Kanerahtiio to regenerate the land, bring back native plants and wildlife, plant traditional gardens, native hemp strains, varieties of Iroquois corn, beans, squash, herbs and medicines. 

52228306_1604005804504949_r.jpegTogether, the Farm Community and the Longhouse form the central hub of Kanerahtiio’s long-term vision of creating a bioregional forest, water, wildlife and food sanctuary — under indigenous stewardship — for the continued existence of life on earth for the next 7 generations and beyond. 

“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.” says Kanerahtiio. "We need to bring 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 big thank you!) 

52228306_1604005676417205_r.jpegABOUT 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 Mohawk Watershed and all Earth, build alliances across movements and cultures, and work collaboratively to create solutions to the existential challenges of our time.

52228306_1605316118896178_r.jpeg52228306_1604338231698477_r.jpeg52228306_1604338117286952_r.jpeg52228306_1604340327704739_r.jpegABOUT 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 already approved by the federal government. The Waterfall Unity Alliance was part of a coalition of grassroots groups that 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.

The Waterfall Unity Alliance also pledged to work with local residents to address the decimation and dispossession of the original inhabitants of the Mohawk Valley. This foundational pledge continues to guide the work of the Alliance supporting the return of traditional Kanien’kehá:ka leaders to their ancestral land. The Longhouse and Schoharie Farm Project are the culmination of a long process of building relationships and trust across generations, cultures and movements.

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Bethany Yarrow 
Breakabeen, NY
Waterfall Unity Alliance 
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