Shé:kon Sewakwé:kon (Hello All!)
Our names are Katsitsienhawi Wakskarèwake (Tiffany Cook), Bear Clan; Teiohontáthe Wakskarèwake (Fallan Jacobs), Bear Clan; and Kawenniiosta Wakahthahiónni (Kawenniiosta Jock), Wolf Clan. We are three Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) women from the Mohawk Nation of Ahkwesasne which straddles the borders of Ontario, Quebec and northern New York.
Fulfilling prophecy, and in the context of the global climate emergency, we have formed the Three Sisters Sovereignty Project to restore our food, energy and cultural sovereignty by re-birthing a sustainable community based on traditional ways of life, on our ancestral soils of the Schoharie Valley in Central New York, 250 miles south of the Ahkwesasne Mohawk Reservation.
For the health of our Nation and our future we don’t have a choice but to return to our ancestral lands. The Ahkwesasne reservation is one of the top ten Superfund sites (a place where hazardous waste is located) with one of the largest PCB dumps in North America -- courtesy of Alcoa, Reynolds and General Motors. The toxins are in the soil, the water, and are even airborne. Diabetes and cancer rates are through the roof. The EPA warns residents not to eat any fish from the river. Our children are sick and it’s too polluted to grow food outside.
It seems that in Ahkwesasne we are forever fighting assimilation and colonization to preserve our traditional system and keep it alive. We need a clean environment so that our original ways and our people can thrive again.
We are mothers, grandmothers and community leaders with a goal of returning to our ancestral valleys to establish a traditional community, heirloom seed garden, language school, educational longhouse, communal cookhouse and cannery – with additional plans and partnership opportunities for industrial hemp production and other sustainable enterprises.
Along with the destruction of our food systems and indigenous ways of life, we are at a climate tipping point on the planet and in the midst of a 6th mass extinction. This is a very challenging moment to be alive -- but it is also a time of tremendous possibility and change.
Our prayer is that our hard work and vision will be a model of restorative justice and community supported land reparations. We need to create new ways of walking together -- restoring health and balance for our families, children, unborn, and all life on our beautiful Mother Earth.
Sovereignty is an action. In this time of climate crisis, we all have a responsibility. In forming the Three Sisters Sovereignty Project we are taking care of our inherent responsibilities.
Niawenkó:wa tánon Tetewatenonhwerá:tons
(Thank you so much. We are thankful!)
GUIDED BY OUR ORIGINAL INSTRUCTIONS OF PEACE, LOVE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS OUR VISION IS TO:
*Build an educational longhouse and communal cookhouse
*Establish an heirloom seed garden and cannery
*Create a language immersion school based on traditional knowledge and values
*Create a healing center to restore connection to the land, cultural identity, and address intergenerational trauma
*Cultivate partnerships and alliances with local residents to come to one mind around the environment and our shared future
*Develop economic opportunities based on regenerative agriculture, cottage industry, and sustainable solutions
WHO WE ARE
Kawenniisota Jock spends most of her time as a homemaker caring for her five children. She has helped develop traditional support, cultural teachings and preservation within the tribe. She is currently enrolled at the Native Education and Training College in a one-year program to be Healing & Wellness Counselor. Kawenniiosta has always been passionate about her people and community and wishes to continue working with women, men and youth who suffer from domestic violence, sexual assault as well as help others to regain their cultural identity. Kawenniiosta is also a self-taught seamstress and has a small business making traditional dresses as well as designing her own clothing line.
Fallan Jacobs is a mother of four children who has worked closely with the community of Ahkwesasne on economic development, labor market information studies and small business support. As a fierce defender of sovereignty and human rights, Fallan spent 12 years in successful court battle against the Canadian Border Services Agency precipitated by an egregious harassment at the border where she was subjected to unprotected uranium exposure resulting in the loss of her baby. The agency was found guilty of sex discrimination by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the Federal Courts and the Federal Appeal Courts of Canada. Fallan now works with indigenous youth and families to rekindle, restore and enhance their sense of cultural identity with land based teachings and community connections across the province of Ontario.
Tiffany Cook is a grandmother and mother of three. She runs a successful juicing and nutritional support initiative which brings healing through food to the tribe. Tiffany also has a farm and indoor facility where she grows all of her own micro-greens for her business, helping people get off their diabetes pills, heal and detox from the poisonous environment surrounding them.
All three of us are community leaders who work to uphold our traditional ways, language, ceremonies and medicines. We have been advocating for the youth for many years and helping with their “Rights of Passage” ceremonies, a 4-6 month
With our children and as yet unborn in mind, we are all working towards our goals to ensure that our children will continue on with ceremonies and that their language will never be lost. Our willingness to leave our community and come back to our ancestral lands is not an easy decision, but we are committed to the health and survival of our people, our traditions, and our culture.
These are some of the beautiful farmlands in our ancestral territory of the Schoharie Valley, known as the most fertile Valley east of the Mississippi River.
The Three Sisters Sovereignty Project grew out of the mission of the Waterfall Unity Alliance, which is to work collaboratively with local residents to protect our ancestral land, known as the most fertile valley east of the Mississippi River.
The Waterfall Unity Alliance was originally formed in 2015 as a Native/non-Native coalition to stop the Constitution Pipeline in central New York State. During that process, traditional Mohawk leaders from Ahkwesasne returned to our ancestral valleys to stand with local residents against the fracked gas pipeline and associated compressor stations planned for the region.
The Waterfall Unity Alliance also pledged to address the original trauma and injustice committed in the Mohawk Valley as well as the current non-recognition and sovereign rights of our people.
- Tara Lambert
- Jacob Shipley
- Dylan Rees
Fundraising team: Three Sisters Sovereignty Project (3)
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