April 20, 2024
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The Chain of Friendship: Binghamton University to welcome Haudenosaunee Festival

Open to the public, the two-day event will be held Sept. 29 and 30 on campus

Angela Ferguson, Eel Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, holds a jar cap filled with Tuscarora squash seeds. Angela Ferguson, Eel Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, holds a jar cap filled with Tuscarora squash seeds.
Angela Ferguson, Eel Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, holds a jar cap filled with Tuscarora squash seeds. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

The purple-and-white flag of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy will fly over the Binghamton University campus this fall, when the Haudenosaunee Festival comes to campus for the first time on Sept. 29 and 30.

In the spirit of the Two Row Wampum — Gä•sweñta’ or The Silver Covenant Chain of Friendship, the two-day program in collaboration with the Vestal Museum will welcome members of New York state’s Indigenous community. The event will feature Indigenous speakers, food, music, dance, art, storytelling and more.

“We would love to have the entire Binghamton community come to campus — not only the University — to engage with the people who have lived here forever,” said Associate Professor of Anthropology BrieAnna Langlie.

It opens at 11 a.m. Sept. 29 with the second annual harvest of the Three Sisters Garden, located in the Science I courtyard. At 3 p.m. on the Peace Quad, the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation will host a Witness to Injustice interactive program that relays to participants and audience members the history, colonization and lived experience of Haudenosaunee peoples from our region and Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.

The main festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 30 on the Peace Quad and features nationally renowned members from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy: traditional seed steward Angela Ferguson from the Onondaga Nation Farm, author and chef Ethan Tyo, storyteller Perry Ground, Faith Keeper and wampum belt maker Tony Gonyea, Clan Mother Wendy Gonyea, flutist Curtis Waterman, historian Sally Roesch Wagner, lacrosse filmmaker Robert Carpenter, and Chris Thomas and the Smoke Dancers.

“We will have artisans and craftspeople selling their wares in tents lined up along the Peace Quad and samples of food made with traditional recipes out of the corn we grew in the Three Sisters Garden,” Langlie said.

While the prior six festivals were held at the Vestal Museum, organizers plan to host the event on campus from now on.

“We’re engaging with our Native American neighbors that have lived here for time immemorial in a very holistic way,” said Barrett Brenton, Faculty Engagement Associate for the University’s Center for Civic Engagement. “The lectures and the programming will weave nicely with curriculum across the University, from music and dance to history, to the social and natural sciences.”

Posted in: Campus News, Harpur