Featured Photo: Controversy Doesn’t Stop Native Women Rowers

Featured Photo: Controversy Doesn’t Stop Native Women Rowers



Though the Indigenous Rowing Club (IRC) took the bronze medal in the RowSTRONG Regatta on October 11, 2016, and they improved on their time by two minutes from last year, the all women’s team has faced criticism from within their community for participating in an event on the environmentally embattled EPA Superfund site, Onondaga Lake.

The lake, located in upstate New York has been the subject of a cleanup controversy. Local politicians and some local media claim the cleanup of the lake is satisfactory, while the Onondaga Nation, and others in the surrounding community disagree.

Some see the club’s participation in the event as an endorsement of the cleanup. “We are NOT endorsing the inadequate cleanup... We recognize the lake is not clean enough. But we do see the value in rebuilding our relationship with the lake. We see there is an opportunity here, not just for women, but for the whole community,” said Asa Shenandoah, Tuscarora, the team’s captain. “There is something therapeutic and spiritual about being on the water, surrounding yourself with a historic and sacred landscape, working and moving precisely together with seven other people, one heart and mind.”

RELATED: Native Women Rowers Earn Bronze Amidst Superfund Controversy

This image was featured in this week’s Indian Country Today Media Network newsletter.

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