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The ANA Messenger - Spring Edition

Published: June 6, 2013
Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS), Environmental Regulatory Enhancement

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Tuscarora Migration Project

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Group of participants holding a Tuscarora Migration Project sign

The Tuscarora Migration Project 2013 is a 70-day relay style event to commemorate the 300-year remembrance of our Tuscarora Migration home, covering 1,300 miles.  Our team of indigenous youth and their supportive brothers and sisters will cross through six states starting from Fort Nooherooka in Snow Hill, North Carolina to our Tuscarora Nation in Lewiston, New York. Along the way we will pass through North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York. The event will wrap up at our finish line party, June 1, 2013, where we will celebrate our 1,300 mile accomplishment with free music and food.

2013 Migration Project Slogan: Çwèø Nęyaøkwanawę:rih or Still, we are stirring about.

Pronounced “jwent, neh-yaw-kwah naw-weh’-rih.” The Migration project Slogan was borrowed from the Tuscarora Indian School 2012 yearbook. The school language program consulted with language experts to confirm this was a common phrase used by old Haudenosaunee speakers to remind people of indigenous resiliency and resistance through time.

Goals: Our three priorities are global messages that we will tell through our Tuscarora/Haudenosaunee lenses with an emphasis on our beliefs and culture.

  1. To demonstrate and celebrate “human-powered" movement across an indigenous travel route.
  2. To educate and bring attention toward anthropogenic climate shift
  3. To demonstrate how indigenous knowledge contributed to cultural survival

Cultural Survival: The Migration slogan might create a mental image of two friends walking down a wooded path, or maybe a large social, with family and friends dancing. Çwèø Nęyaøkwanawę:rih characterizes the resiliency of the Haudenosaunee people who are still moving about, still picking berries, still planting, still braiding corn, still hunting, still building, still raising families.  

Considering the historical hardships the Tuscarora Nation has faced over the last 500 years, it is remarkable there are still Tuscarora people stirring about. The loss of land, water, forest, language, culture, ceremony, and overt attempts by European immigrants to colonize Tuscarora has undoubtedly resulted in changes to the way in which they “stir about.”

Human Powered Movement: While traditional knowledge and practice might have saved Tuscarora from extinction, most of North America’s original people did not survive. Scientists across the world are interested in why indigenous people have been able to adapt and survive in historical times, and how they plan on surviving future changes in their environments, especially shifts in climate patterns.

People, plants, and animals living may lose ground to rising sea levels caused by melting ice under these shifts. Other regions may face drastic changes in precipitation and temperature. When global weather patterns create changes in the lands and waters, plants and animals may need to move and find suitable habitat. Large-scale migrations, which also occurred during the European colonization of North America, are predicted under current climate change models. Oren Lyons, Onondaga Faithkeeper and Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force (HETF) Co-Chair, has said people should start thinking now about higher ground and access to fresh water.

Chart of CO2 in the atmosphere: we are at 392 parts per million, we need to get below 350ppm.

Imagine the Karuk without salmon, the Annisnabe without moose, or the Haudenosaunee without the sugar maple!  These are now all possible due to anthropogenic climate change. Scientists claim once CO2 levels stay above 350 parts per million in the upper atmosphere, the Earth will reach a tipping point that will result in irreversible catastrophic effects1.  In 2010, transportation contributed approximately 27 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Transportation is also the largest end-use source of greenhouse gases, and accounts for 45 percent of the net increase in total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from 1990-20102.  Today, most Haudenosaunee People rely on personal automobiles for transportation. The way in which Haudenosaunee People are stirring about may be threatening our own survival and causing another migration. What can we do?

RE-ENACT a human-powered migration.  Celebrate cultural survival and indigenous knowledge by walking, running, and paddling 1,300 miles from the Carolinas to the Great Lakes under your own power. The re-enactment helps remind people that extinction can be prevented if people live simply, moving about the Earth slower and wiser. All people need to stir about is found here on Mother Earth.

RE-CONNECT with the natural world. Participants will forge new relationships with the aboriginal territory of the Haudenosaunee using indigenous forms of travel. Migration participants will be using applied research techniques to prepare eco-cultural reports from the field, describing the current status of cultural and historic sites, natural histories of plants and animals encountered on the trail, environmental protection and planning updates from communities along the way, and foraging techniques that may hold promise for future bio-economies.
RE-THINK transportation. Human-powered forms of transportation reduce pollution, build fitness, and put people in greater touch with their environment. Leaving your car at home just two days a week can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by an average of two tons per year3. Promoting communities and lifestyles that support walking, running, paddling, and bicycling is part of the climate change solution.

For more information about the Project, please visit the website at http://tuscaroramigration.org, or the facebook page “2013 Tuscarora Migration Project”.


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350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments are now sayins is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. Source: www.350.org

Last Reviewed: October 17, 2016