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The mission of the Waterfall Unity Alliance is to protect Skóhale (the Schoharie Valley) and our Mother Earth, build alliances across movements & cultures, and create solutions to the existential challenges of our time.

WHO WE ARE

Kawenniiosta Jock is Kanien’kehá:ka, under the title family of Orenrehrekó:wa Wolf Clan from Akwesasne. She's a mother, activist, land protector, master seamstress, artist and lover of all creation. Kawenniiosta has helped develop traditional support, cultural teachings and language preservation within her community and is a Onkwehónwe full-spectrum doula. She is here to bring ancient knowledge and teachings back to restore the collective balance within her people and all humanity 🌎. Kawenniiosta is an alumna of the Akwesasne Freedom School and is passionate about the restoration of her peoples way of life. She carries a heart-felt desire to create a space of love and healing for each and every individual.

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Kawenniiosta Jock (Wolf Clan)
Orenhre'kowa Ki'taratakie

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Liv Watyana'li:yo Bigtree
Turtle Clan is Onyota'a:ka (Oneida)

Board of Directors - Communications Specialist

 

Liv Watyana'li:yo Bigtree, Turtle Clan is Onyota'a:ka (Oneida) and lives in Skóhare. She grew up in the Onondaga Reserve where she was raised by predominantly strong Onkwehonwe women. Having a background in visual art, she finished her first year of art school at Maryland Institute College of Art in 2021. Over the course of her high school career, she received numerous honors and titles, both nationally and regionally for her art. Her willingness to be open to guidance and her authenticity has taken her path away from colonial life. Decolonization, healing, and spirituality are all included in her personal work and what she intends to bring to Skóhare.

Sandra Owén:nakon Deer-Standup

Board of Directors

 

Sandra Owén:nakon Deer-Standup is a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Kahnawa:ke (By The Rapids).  She has been involved in land defense and political activism for sovereign rights for her people since she was 6 years old. A mother, wife, aunt, great-aunt and grandmother, Owén:nakon has taught elementary and early childhood education in the Kanien’keha language for over 20 years.  She has been an educational administrator, curriculum writer and consultant; has published several published academic papers; and is currently writing her doctoral dissertation in education at McGill University. 

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Kanerahtiio Roger Jock
Kanien’kehá:ka Bear Clan Leader

 

Advisory Board

 

Kanerahtiio Roger Jock is a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) Bear Clan Leader from the Akwesasne Reserve who carries a vision of return for his people to their ancestral lands in the Mohawk Valley of New York. Kanerahtiio has taught cultural awareness all over the U.S. for over 40 years as part of the White Roots of Peace Movement. He worked as an ironworker and foreman for several decades and is a leader in land and sovereign rights in the Akwesasne region.

Board of Directors

 

Bethany Yarrow sings music of power and praise. She is a song keeper, earth activist, and student of the spiritual traditions of the Americas. With a living prayer for unity at the heart of her music, she uses her voice to  help protect the land & water and build community & collaborative solutions to address the existential threats of our time. 

Bethany Yarrow
Song Keeper + Earth Activist

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Sonya Armlin Roland

Board of Directors

 

Sonya Armlin Roland’s family has lived in the Schoharie Valley since the 1800s, “I myself have some Mohawk ancestry, as do many of the people who have lived here for generations. It is an honor to welcome the Kanien’kehá:ka back home.”

Jimmy Sumner

Advisory Board

 

Jimmy Sumner is a retired police officer of mixed Taino descent who lives in the Schoharie Valley. He has worked at the Old Stone Fort, has a keen interest in local history and is devoted to strengthening bonds of friendship and respect with the original inhabitants of the Valley.

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Steven Smith (Owl)
Environmental Law + Advisor to the Ramapough Lenape Nation

Advisory Board

 

Owl / Steven Smith, Esquire, son of William Alfred Smith, Esquire, who spent his early childhood in the Ramapo mountains and grandson of Ira Smith, professor and educator from Hillburn, NY, given the middle name “Dennison” in honor of the Dennison family of the Ramapo Mountains.

Steven Dennison Smith received his bachelor of arts in political science from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of California at Berkeley. Mr. Smith studied Mexican culture and history as a Pacific Rim scholar at the University of California and has traveled and lived extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Guyana and Ecuador.

Mr. Smith has taught and lectured on a wide variety of subjects, including business law at Virginia Tech, science, technology and law for Virginia Tech and the University of Richmond School of Law, and introductory law for high school students. He has lectured on diverse subjects such as telecommunications policy, trade policy, environmental law, and the human rights of indigenous people. Steven Smith is a member of the California bar and Virginia bar of attorneys. Mr. Smith has assisted Navajo, Tohono O’odham, and Guyanese villagers with major environmental issues in national courts and before Congress and the United Nations.

OUR HISTORY

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The Waterfall Unity Alliance was formed in 2015 when traditional Kanien’kehá:ka leaders from the Akwesasne Reserve returned to their ancestral valleys to stand with local residents against the Constitution Pipeline, a major fracked gas pipeline planned in upstate New York.

The Waterfall Unity Alliance was part of a coalition of grassroots groups that successfully pressured the Governor's office to deny the pipeline’s construction permit in 2016, setting a historic precedent as the first time a state was able to stop a federally approved interstate pipeline.

The Waterfall Unity Alliance also pledged to work with local residents to address the decimation and dispossession of the original inhabitants of the Mohawk Valley. This foundational pledge continues to guide the work of the Alliance supporting the return of traditional Kanien’kehá:ka leaders to their ancestral lands.

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