Historic Site on Mohawk River Back in Native Hands
A location on the Mohawk River in New York considered a key site in the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy has been handed over to a Native foundation.
An article in the Albany Times Union tells the story of Skennenrahawi, the Peacemaker, whose vision some 800 years ago resulted in the formation of the Iroquois Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee. At what is now known as Cohoes Falls, the Peacemaker tried to convince the Mohawk tribe to join his cause, but the skeptical Mohawks instead put him on a branch of a tree which they then chopped off, dropping him into the falls and certain death. The following day, upon discovering Skennenrahawi alive and unhurt, the Mohawks acclaimed him as a prophet and became the first tribe to join the Haudenosaunee.
Cohoes Falls is one of four sites that are important in the Skennenrahawi story, the other three being his birthplace, the Bay of Quinte area, west of Kingston, Ontario; Ganondogan, near Rochester, where he met the first clanmother Jikonsaseh; and the southern shore of Onondaga Lake, where Skennenrahawi, Jikonsaseh and Hiawatha persuaded the sorcerer Tadodaho to join their cause. In colonial times, Native Americans lost possession of all four sites.
On September 26, at a meeting in Toronto between a Brookfield representative and delegates from a Native American institute, papers were signed to formally turn over 110 acres of land on the north side of the Mohawk River. The parcel includes land on both sides of the falls and some 1200 feet of water frontage.