Three Sisters Sovereignty Project
Shé:kon Sewakwé:kon (Hello All!)
Our names are Katsitsienhawi Wakskarèwake (Tiffany Cook), Bear Clan; Teiohontáthe Wakskarèwake (Fallan Jacobs), Bear Clan; and Kawenniiosta Wakahthahiónni (Kawenniiosta Jock), Wolf Clan. We are three Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) women from the Mohawk Nation of Ahkwesasne which straddles the borders of Ontario, Quebec and northern New York.
Fulfilling prophecy, and in the context of the global climate emergency, we have formed the Three Sisters Sovereignty Project to restore our food, energy and cultural sovereignty by re-birthing a sustainable community based on traditional ways of life, on our ancestral soils of the Schoharie Valley in Central New York, a four hour drive south of Ahkwesasne.
For the health of our Nation and our future we don’t have a choice but to return to our ancestral lands. The Ahkwesasne reservation is one of the top ten Superfund sites (a place where hazardous waste is located) with one of the largest PCB dumps in North America -- courtesy of Alcoa, Reynolds and General Motors. The toxins are in the soil, the water, and are even airborne. Diabetes and cancer rates are through the roof. The EPA warns residents not to eat any fish from the river. Our children are sick and it’s too polluted to grow food outside.
It seems that in Ahkwesasne we are forever fighting assimilation and colonization to preserve our traditional system and keep it alive. We need a clean environment so that our original ways and our people can thrive again.
We are mothers, grandmothers and community leaders with a goal of returning to our ancestral valleys to establish a traditional community, heirloom seed garden, language school, educational longhouse, communal cookhouse and cannery – with additional plans and partnership opportunities for industrial hemp production and other sustainable enterprises.
To begin the Three Sisters Sovereignty Project, 10 acres of land in West Fulton, NY have been donated for the educational longhouse, cookhouse, and cannery. Another 7 acres in Gilboa bordering NY state forest have been donated as ceremonial grounds for rites of passage for our youth. As farms and land in the area become available, we would like to acquire them, expand our community and establish a bioregional forest, water and wildlife sanctuary under indigenous stewardship.
Along with the destruction of our food systems and indigenous ways of life, we are at a climate tipping point on our planet and in the midst of a 6th mass extinction. This is a very challenging moment to be alive -- but it is also a time of tremendous possibility and change. With your support we can and will establish a sustainable community based on our original instructions. Our prayer is that our hard work and vision will be an example of how to create new ways of walking together and restoring health and balance for our families, children, unborn, and all life and creatures on our beautiful Mother Earth.
Sovereignty is an action. In this time of climate crisis, we all have a responsibility. In forming the Three Sisters Sovereignty Project we are taking care of our inherent responsibilities.
Niawenkó:wa tánon Tetewatenonhwerá:tons
(Thank you so much. We are thankful!)
Katsitsienhawi, Teiohontathe tánon Kawenniiosta.