Honoring and Giving Thanks to the Onondaga Waters

We rise every morning to a new day, wash our faces, brush our teeth, make coffee, yet are we grateful for the water that allows us to live this day? On Saturday, October 9, leaders from the Onondaga Nation and the Zen Center of Syracuse will conduct “Honoring and Giving Thanks to the Onondaga Waters,” a series of ceremonies, and will dedicate a large-scale stone sculpture by Haudenosaunee artist Tom Huff. The events, which are free and open to the public, will begin at 1:30 p.m. along the Onondaga Creek at the Zen Center of Syracuse, 266 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse.

We rise every morning to a new day, wash our faces, brush our teeth, make coffee, yet are we grateful for the water that allows us to live this day? On Saturday, October 9, leaders from the Onondaga Nation and the Zen Center of Syracuse will conduct “Honoring and Giving Thanks to the Onondaga Waters,” a series of ceremonies, and will dedicate a large-scale stone sculpture by Haudenosaunee artist Tom Huff. The events, which are free and open to the public, will begin at 1:30 p.m. along the Onondaga Creek at the Zen Center of Syracuse, 266 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse. A reception will follow.

A traditional Zen Buddhist ritual performed on the Hokku, or Dharma drum, will open the ceremonies, followed by the Ganoñheñnyoñ,’ or “Words That Come Before All Else,” the Onondaga Thanksgiving Address. Special invited guest is Onondaga Clan Mother Audrey Shenandoah, who will offer remarks. Wendy Gonyea, Onondaga Faithkeeper, will share her poetry; performances of music by the Shenandoah Singers and Zansan Paul Worden will follow. A Zen Buddhist Eye-Opening ceremony will dedicate the 10-foot-tall statue by Huff, which has been carved to reflect Haudenosaunee and Zen imagery. Both traditions share an understanding of the sacredness of each drop of water, a profound gratitude for each aspect of the natural world, and respect for the unity of all life. The ceremonial event is not a merging of traditions, but a reflection of parallel paths, navigated in mutual respect, peace andfriendship toward a common vision.

Huff, an award-winning Seneca-Cayuga artist who lives on the Onondaga Nation, attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe and the Rhode Island School of Design. He expresses the cultural values and the social and political issues in the lives of Native Americans. He is primarily a sculptor who carves in stone, although he has also created mixed-media and installation projects. Other sculptures by Huff are found in the Zen Center art collection, including a turtle in a small pond near the parking lot. Huff has also served artist-in-residence for various Zen Center of Syracuse youth programs.

Funding for the Huff sculpture has been received from the Gifford Foundation, the Allyn Foundation, and the Alex Nason Foundation.

Date: 
Sat, Oct 9, 2010 - 1:30pm - 3:30pm
Program fee: 
Free
Event series: 
Forman House Bicentennial