A very special celebration event is taking place in the Catskills upstate New York State, U.S., this weekend, July 28-30, where sacred Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) land has returned to those who lived there first.
The Waterfall Unity Alliance, an indigenous led 501c3 not-for- profit, purchased a ribbon of cropland in the Schoharie Valley of Central New York in November 2022. A working 60-acre fruit and berry farm, the land is the remains of an old Mohawk village. Last summer, the Alliance hosted its first annual Waterfall Unity Concert and raised the funds needed complete the purchase of the farm now known as Iotsi’tsisons (Skywoman’s) Forever Farm. This year, festival proceeds from the benefit concert and celebration go toward the Kanien’keha language immersion earth school and programs.
Better Worlds' media studio is on the ground, working with festival organizers, volunteers and performers to capture the festival highlights. See the performers and festival schedule here and watch for more on betterworlds.com.
For many Kanien’kehá:ka, it is a life-long dream to return to ancestral lands and begin a community guided by Kaianere'kó:wa (the Great Law of Peace). Their return is also part of an urgent task of environmental justice as the Akwesasne reservation home is now designated as a toxic superfund site, where there are reports of high rates of cancer and other rare diseases in the community.
The Schoharie Berry Farm serves as the economic hub for the new community in the Valley, where it will host the school, a communal kitchen, and transition back to regenerative practices, reintroducing native plants, wildlife, and traditional Haudenosaunee crops such as corn, beans, squash, herbs, and medicines.