The Kaniekehaka Return
to Skóhale (the Schoharie Valley)
in the Catskill Mountains of New York
Help Support Our Rematriation Journey
November 17th, 2023 marks the end of our first year rematriating what was once known as Bohringer’s Berry Farm in Schoharie Valley. Today, we celebrate our first year of actively reconnecting, rematriating, and remembering who we are as Onkwehonwe (Original Beings) throughout our return home process living at Iotsi’tsison (Skywoman’s) Forever Farm. The Waterfall Unity Alliance intends for the work we do to be a liberating pathway back to balanced and harmonious ways of being: true sovereignty.
We recognize that Bohringer’s Berry Farm has served as a central component to the Schoharie Valley Community. Engrained within the DNA of the land in which the farm resides are the memories of the Kanien’kehá:ka (People of the Flint) Turtle Clan Village in which Onkwehonwe (Original Beings) once embodied the original instructions. From the moment Kawenniiosta Jock signed her name to close on the farm, its frequency shifted. From the moment she signed, a great healing process has begun that has opened doorways to deep reconnection for Onkwehonwe.
Over the course of this past year, Onkwehonwe children, elders, women and men have visited the land, co-creating in different ways. Onkwehonwe men have come to lend a hand in renovating the farmhouse since November, creating a safe space for families to live and visit. Onkwehonwe children, women, and families have placed their hands in the soil, picked berries, and planted seeds that grow beyond the physical. We’ve held ceremonies, a social dance, and cooked meals that have fostered a deep reconnection within ourselves and the land. The more connected we are with creation, the more connected we are within ourselves. The healing within ourselves gets reflected within the land and vice versa. Our connection with creation is a relationship of oneness. We are merely a reflection of all of life.
We have dedicated this past year to allowing the land to rest, as this land has been subject to harsh chemicals and cash cropping for at least 60 years. This rest process has allowed for our people (living onsite and visiting) the grounding space and solitude necessary to align with our authentic healing timelines. As Onkwehonwe, we have committed to transitioning the farm to an organic regenerative agricultural working farm. It is integral to us that all processes and decision making on the farm aligns with the current of all of creation. This past October, we celebrated the first rematriated action toward regenerative agricultural practices when we sprayed organic microbes and biochar on all of our berry fields, sourced from American Indian Microbes. We look forward to this next year of milestones at Iotsi’tsison Forever Farm, as this is only the beginning.
None of this could be possible without the help of our donors, allies, and supporters. Niawenko:wa (A Grand Thank You) and a waterfall of love to all of our donors, allies, and supporters for your commitment that has contributed harmoniously to carrying us forward each step of the way as we walk this pathway of healing.
Much work remains as we move forward into this timeline. Support is needed. A major piece to walking the path to sovereignty for Kanien’kehá:ka is ensuring the future generations can always consider Iotsi’tsíson Forever Farm to be home. For this to be truth, we still have to raise money to pay off the loans that were deemed necessary to purchase the farm. Within the spirit of new beginnings, we are calling for assistance and support to make this a reality. Along with paying off loans, it is integral that our children and young families have active language and traditional teachings to ensure our way of life is carried onto the future generations. A Kanien’kehá:ka elder is coming to Ioskóhare with her family to take on the responsibility of providing teachings for our children. A Kanien’kehá:ka man from Ganienkeh is our farm manager who will be a guiding force ensuring the abundance of this farm remains. We are in need of funds to maintain a salary for our newest team members. Funds for learning supplies and farm equipment are needed as well, to ensure the responsibilities of this land can be fulfilled.
As we walk into our second year in this ever-evolving vision, we walk with gratitude in our open-hearts, power in our steps, and awareness in our presence with the glow of unconditional love. A waterfall of abundance to all. Niawenko:wa for hearing us, seeing us, and bearing witness to this pathway to sovereignty.
We did it!!!
On Nov 17th 2022, Our board president, Kawenniiosta Jock, signed the papers on behalf of the Waterfall Unity Alliance. We offer our most sincerest gratitude and appreciate for your support.
But there is still far more work ahead of us.
In order to bring the healing to the people, this land and the families, we still need to renovate the farmhouse to return it to livable conditions, provide the necessary resources for the Kanien’kehá:ka elders (Mohawk People in their mother tongue) to train the workers their original organic Earth-healing methods of farming, purchase of heavy equipment and provide the important resources for the teachers of the language school to effectively educate the children in an environment that fosters love, security, and peace.