Everyone Welcome to our first Snake Mound Gathering of the Spring/Summer season:
SAVE THE HIGH PARK BURIAL MOUNDS upcoming event
Local residents have come together to form the Friends of Snake Mound and together with the Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society are celebrating the coming of Spring and gearing up for a Summer of work at Snake Mound with this very important community event. Please come and show your support and pay respects to members of the Six Nations who will be present, and share their time and knowledge with us on this important issue.
Press Release: Serpent Mound Brochure
Information Pamphlet: HPM press release
Dance for the Ancestors at Snake Mound on, Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 10:00 am. See you there!
October 23, 2010
The Ogii:Wii, Feast for the Ancestors at Bear Mound was beautiful. About forty or fifty people joined the Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society for this timely ceremony. At one point at there were about 80 people who took part in the pipe ceremony. We had wonderful songs and drumming, stories shared, and feasting.
UPDATE FROM FEAST FOR THE ANCESTORS ( Ogii:wii) , held Saturday, October 23,2010 @ 12:00 pm.
|From Two Feathers Down:skennen gowa jagadehgah,ohio bob parins stated that all went well. four people were at the drum backed up by another group in washington state, names unknown. several from the public participated. they were not allowed to build a fire but offered tobacco and smoked pipe. at end of ceremony a yound bald eagle flew over, picking up the prayers to creator. ohio bob thinks if we do this same thing next year we should move to a medicine wheel in this same mound region of old origin. many thanks to all at serpent mound ohio. many others in the west also prayed and reported great things happened. giving protection and harmony. much thanks for prayer coming from wisconsin, mounds.myself and three more gathered for pray lodge run by swift buckskin horse, old time sundancer and grandpa. also two newbees came to lodge. three pipes and much tobacco burned. i must say it was a great lodge, and the prayers went out. i was also told of another group in tennessee that formed to pray names unknown.the east door had some trouble with expected attendance. several drummers could not make it because of work and other emergencies, however ray johnson reported four people using big drum and hand drums. they felt the prayers were heard and good things coming. feast and fire was great. it is good to honor the ancestors in unity. ray gave much thanks for the honor.gigageu galvlou/ micheal redsky conducted a lodge in new york, hudson river. i will send you his email when i receive it. i like the location.|
to the many that stood where they were at or went to a special place the numbers were considerable that gave a moment of prayer and honor to the ancestors many with fire and tobacco. thanks people
i believe the ancestors heard and felt our love. i hope healing (bear) and protection (wolf) now surrounds the mounds and those that work that volunteer job. to me it was one of those great days that will be remembered.
peace love honor and respect
two feathers down/bee man
From Cedar Heart:
Us at the Thunderbird mound had an incredible day filled with magic and good medicine…the ancestors are in peace, Mother Earth had been nurished….I am happy
Water Ghost Woman
…Rick reported from Tabor Hill that all went well and that about 20-25 who participated. He stated that the fire department showed up and circled around the mound 3 times but did not bother them.
Bob Parins in Ohio stated that he had contacted the Serpent Mounds before the ceremony and got verbal permission from a woman to have sacred fire at the Serpent Mound. When he arrived, there is a permanent fire pit located near the pavilion with s supply of wood. Bob began to start the fire for ceremony in the fire pit that he thought they could use. A park manager came out and stopped them from having sacred fire and stated that they could not have a fire there. *** This is a violation of the Native American Religious Freedom Act of 1976 and our treaty rights to have access to our sacred sites for ceremony at any time. This parks manager needs some education on Native rights.
We also had some interference from the Bird Watchers at Bear Mound, as they called the police and fire dept on us. A Sgt. Costos of Div. 11 showed up and was going to call in more police forces to stop us because he was told that we only had a permit for burning sweetgrass! How absurd! It was a good thing we had a permit from the City stating that it was for a fire pit, which we provided, and not for just burning sweetgrass. After Sgt Costos saw the permit, he called off the other police force that he radioed for. He stated he would just hang around to monitor us to make sure that there would be no trouble as there has been down at the Snake Mound.
The ceremony began on time at the Bear Mound, despite an attempt to stop it. As soon as the drums played which, there 10 drums there, Sgt. Kostos took off. A red tailed hawk circled above us at the Bear Mound during our ceremony.
Later when speaking to Water Ghost Woman, she informed us that Sgt. Costos had showed up at the Thunderbird Mound with an entirely different attitude. He offered his assistance and Water Ghost Woman invited him to come and be a part of the ceremony. Very positive outcome in turning someone who had negative intentions at the Bear Mound, and he in the end was more respectful of our ceremonies.
These are just a few of the many positive experiences from this years ceremony. And people are already talking about next years ceremony and how they can work to build unity!
At various locations across Turtle Island we have received positive reports and only a couple of incidents with local authorities, that need to be addressed to ensure that these incidents do not happen again at our sacred sites.
Niawen gowa ancestors, elders and the many people across Turtle Island… Much positive change will now occur for all of humanity.
We will be meeting at the Snake Mound on Sunday, October 17, 2010 @12, to finalize the ceremony on October 23, 2010, and to be there to monitor the site. It will be nice day, and we hope to see many of you there.
Niawen skenon! Oneh! In peace,
Rastia’ta’non:ha,Onǫdowa’ ga:’ Otahyo:ni:
Director Täiäiäkó’n Historical Preservation Society
An Ogii:wii (Feast for the Ancestors) will be held on October 23rd at the Bear Mound in High Park
poster by: Catherine Tammaro@Tammaro Art Design
The ceremony begins at 12:00 noon sharp. The location is just north of Grenadier Cafe in the Maple grove just below Bear Mound (called Hawk Hill by High Park)
Everyone is Welcome, bring food, drums and shakers….
This ceremony will be held concurrently with ceremonies at other sites across Ontario and into the United States. These sites form a line across that landscape and are a part of the energetic web of the medicine wheel.
We received this email from Two Feathers Down/Bee Man, Mingo, Wolf Clan from Kentucky as he working hard to mobilize people south of the imaginary line about the ceremony on October 23, 2010 and the mounds issue in High Park:
|eh skennen gonwa/aninn/osiyo qriginal people,I apologize for not getting this info out sooner but my plate has been full, however it seems like everything is being accomplished ok. The purpose of asking everyone who desires to join in prayer during this ceremony on 23 oct at high noon is to ask for a healing change for the mounds in high park, toronto, canada. If you would also mention rastia’ta’non:ha (res-tea-a-da-noon-ha) and ask for help to come to him that he needs. That will cause positive outcome. There has been threats and hostilities that came close to killing or injuring one of the women that has so diligently guarded these mounds along with several other dedicated people. Once the destruction of these mounds has come to a halt there will be a great need of many things that will recover and protect these mounds. Some type of vegetation will be needed to grow under white oaks that will keep the erosion from causing more continued destruction. Replacement of the soil that has already disappeared will be needed. The people (they call themselves the high park boys) that are causing the destruction needs a change of heart (in a good way) that would make them aware of the problems they are causing. Hoping they will join in with the protection and help fix the problems they have caused. The city officials and police need to join in with and have earnest attitudes and desires to protect the history and sacred grounds that are now under their city limits. Our Ohio grounds are a match to these mounds in Toronto. What has come to me while working with Rastia’ta’non:ha is if we can unite over this problem, later we will be able to unite over much greater problems. This unity will go on to the seventh generation and further.The attachments on Rastia’ta’non:ha’s high park efforts will give info on how to be involved in Toronto, the north door. at the Serpent Mound in Ohio, Bob Parin will have the big drum there.(740 332 0334) . Please contact him for the west door efforts. The south door will be handled by Swift Buckskin Horse with a lodge at his house. For directions to his house call me at 606 237 4692. The east door will be handled by Ray Johnson, snake clan in eastern pa. His contact number is 717 983 0836. please do not wait until the 23 rd to get directions because most of us will be unreachable at that time. If you cannot make these doors, then I ask you to step outside build a little fire, say your prayers and place your tobacco in the fire, accompanied with a spirit feast.. pipes and lodges from every where are requested and desired. For the ones that walk on other paths, please say a prayer in your way at this time. Any questions concerning this ceremony can be directed to me through email until 21 Oct. let us unite in prayer for this effort in peace love and harmony.Two Feathers Down/Bee Man
The Thunderbird Mound ǫeremony will be handled by Water Spirit Woman in conjunction with the ceremony at the Bear Mound and Tabor Hill as well as other sacred sites.
Here is a map of the area where the Thunderbird Mound for those who like top attend the ceremony there across the street from 2 Varsity Lane, Toronto, On.
Tue, 12 Oct 2010 13:07:28 -0400
I got a hold of Dan Murnahan, and gave him an update, on our findings at the Snake Mound. He stated that everything else is on hold currently, outside of the maintenance of the signs, the barricade, and making sure that the police are being consistent.
I informed him that the bikers are still determined to use the site for illegal biking purposes, and building more ramps, as we found a camping shovel hidden in the bushes on Saturday. I informed him that 31+ bikers tried to access the site on Saturday afternoon and the police were called. The police did show up in 5 minutes after they were called and chase the remaining group down that tried to come into the Mound area.
I also let Dan know that the there is a sign and a half up right now. He also was told that the bikers have been coming in the evening to re-build and build more ramps.
I informed Dan the police have not been consistent in enforcing the by-law as they promised and it is sending the wrong message to the bikers.
He stated he would get in touch with Helen Sousa, Kevin Bowsher, Jortge Toure, and Sgt. Anders of Div 11.
The other man that was with him from the parks that day on August 28 was Peter Lees.
He stated he would get Jorge to go down and fix the barricades to make it harder for them to be tipped over, and put up more new signs. He appreciated the follow up and asked that we keep in touch with him with any new developments.
October 3, 2010
We feasted at the Snake Mound in celebration of our new meeting place which had been disrupted over the week and was in need of minor re-building. After we finished that we cleaned up a lot of litter that was around; since we clean every week what was there was only one weeks worth. Again there were beer cans and this time some drug paraphernalia. The only “No Cycling” sign that remains is now been torn in half, and has “Only” written above the symbol of the cyclist. We discussed how the city and police haven’t kept their side of the agreement that was made on August 28th and we are now in the process of drafting them a letter encouraging them to open up lines of communication with the Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society so we can continue to work in a co-ordinated way to protect the site.
September, 25 2010
Niawen gowa to Lauri, Adrian, Liza Kim, her friend from BC, and Rick for their hard work today in moving the heavy oak logs around to create a ceremonial place at the Snake Mound and also to help deter bikers from continuing to use area illegally.
We also put the barricades back up and while we there managed to stop several groups of bikers from coming into use the site today for illegal biking purposes.
Next Sunday, Oct. 03, 2010 @ 11:30 am, we will gathering for ceremony and feast at the Snake Mound.
Hope to see you there!
Rastia’ta’non:ha, Onǫdowá́́’ ga:’ Otahyǫ́:ni:
Director Täiäiäkó’n Historical Preservation Society
September 18th, 2010
Again people gathered at the Snake Mound to keep an eye on how effective the signs and fences have been.
September 12, 2010
There was a call out this past week-end to gather again at Snake Mound to see how the site was being managed and if the vandalized signs had been replaced. I could hear the drumming underway as I approached the site as it carries across the pond to the walkway along the bottom of the park.
What we found: one damaged sign has been removed and the other that was bent over has been further defaced and bent. There only remains one sign with the clear prohibition on biking stated however this is off the Snake Mound site. However, the Parks Board has put up heavy duty fencing across the trials leading to the Snake Mound. While this is effective visually, the cyclists are able to get around them with their bikes and new ramps have been built and fresh bicycle tracks are in evidence everywhere.
There was a brilliant blue Fall sky with big clouds passing over, and the sun dappled through the trees: it is a truly special place to be. Song and ceremony unfolded in the moment followed by a sharing of thoughts and feelings as to how to proceed with the struggle to protect and maintain connection to the Mounds.
September 4, 2010
We gathered at Snake Mound to see if the signs had been put up as promised.
It’s been a long hot summer, to say the least. As things are heating up on the Indigenous Peoples front worldwide about the situation in High Park. Various media sources have now seen first handed the destruction in the Snake Mound area. The City TV camera man stated he had been to the site 2 years and he fell and hurt himself badly and had not returned until last Saturday when he did his interview with us.
After our meeting with police, parks officials one of which was sent on Kevin Bowshers behalf and almost 2 hrs of discussion with about 35 supporters, the steps that were going to taken was to firstly have signs put by the end of this week, and the police would enforce the by-law. It was noted by one of our active supporters, that no signs had been up when he was there on Wednesday. The signs were either put up on Thursday or Friday. We noticed the first bolted to the black, stating ” No Biking Permitted,” then as we walked in at first another sign, Stated, “Bicycling Allowed,” then a third sign post on another stump, stating the same as the fist sign ” No Cycling permitted,” and that sign had already been bent to cover the wording so that it seemed like from a distance Biking was allowed. We did call the police to alert of damages done to the new signs, obviously done by the bikers. The police had asked us to report this back you about the damages done, and it looks like the one sign and the no biking symbol removed. Niawen gowa for showing some faith steps forward in resolving this issue with you people.
The police are also aware that the bikers have been there at night to dig and alter the sight, as there has been ramp building done since last Saturday.
Niawen skenon! Oneh!
Progress with the Parks Board at High Park
Early Saturday morning on August 28, 2010, the Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society along with elders, Six Nations community members, alongside community members of the High Park/Junction neighborhoods gathered to repair Snake/Serpent Mound which has been degraded by cyclists who have built a bmx jump ramp.
Surprisingly officials from the Toronto Parksboard and a police officer were waiting for us when we arrived at 8am; it seems that the police are watching the facebook pages of some of our group. What ensued was a lengthy discussion as to what was to happen both that day and into the future of the site. The Parks board does not as yet recognize the Indigenous significance of the site. Speakers from the Six Nations eloquently and passionately tried to give them understanding of how it feels to have the graves of ones ancestors desecrated, and to have ones word and the words of the Clan Mothers disrespected as to the significance of this site. The approach of western science that thinks if it doesn’t see it, it doesn’t exist, is an affront to those whose traditional knowledge and science maintains an ancient connection to this burial site.
Through much discussion the Parks Board officials agreed to post signs that enforce the by-laws that state that there is to be no cycling off paths and no digging in the parks by Friday, September 3. They agreed that removal of the signs by cyclists was a problem and that, therefor, they would maintain them. They said that the bicycle police will monitor the site. They agreed to keep in communication with the Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society as to the repair of the site, and an independent archeological assessment. After an environmental assessment is done (which is currently underway), if the site is deemed sensitive a fence will be put up. In turn we agreed to not do any digging or repairing of the Mounds for now contingent on their following through with their promises.
We proceeded then to the Snake/Serpent Mound for a ceremony and to talk, sing, feast and get to know each other a bit. We agreed that this was the start of a solid group to work on these issues.
Later in the day some cyclists showed up. We called out to them to join us but they were reluctant. After a rather tense discussion with two cyclists we seemed to come to a bit of an understanding. Police arrived and also spoke to the cyclists and they went away. It was the first time that the police actually enforced the by-law, so that was really good. We then continued to sing and talk, until the ancestors were content.
Ramps Looking North
I loaded this picture on so that viewers could see the extent of the damage. The log at the centre left of the picture has been attacked at the higher end by people using shovels as axes. The wood chips are not evident from this picture, but they are there. Eentually, those using the shovels will cause the log to roll south into the deeper part of the pit.
It will probably be a lesson in applied physics, redundant upon completion.
My Two Cents
I was with the group on Saturday. We were met by the police, who were quite stern, I thought, especially since we said that we were going to follow up.
The sergeant I spoke with, in front of the group, made me feel as though I was the criminal in the enterprise, for standing up for an argument to do with social preservation.
I underlined the fact that we were peaceful and that we were committed to seeing the right thing done by the land. In response, we were told that we might be trespassed and that it was illegal to take pictures of minors.
The point I am making is that out of the gate, we seem to have hit one snag after another. One member pointed out, quite rightly as I thought, that we expected the same vigilance for us that the police were showing for the ‘minors’.
I noticed during our episode at the site that the oak trees which were the tallest were swaying quite markedly in the wind. I also had a branch crash down onto the north slope beside me as I was looking at the plants on the perimeter.
What frustrates me the most is that the vandals seem to already have had their way with the signs. One alleged vandal has been posting unsavoury comments on the blogto site; I was sent a preceis of the comments made.
Give the adult bikers time. They will turn violent…I can see it in the writing that I read on the blogto posts. I had one person who was critical of my naturalist stance say, “Hey Rhodes, F**k off.” That kind of says it all about their viewpoints and what they are willing to do to enforce their encroachment on public land.
In any case, we have seen that the bikers are willing to break the law to enforce their ends. My question is, “When the bikers have finished with the site and the soil has washed through the fence, will they re-build the mound, or will they choose another location in the Park?”
I think we know the answer to that one. It remains to be seen if the bikers are going to try a counter-move. Remember, the area is protected by an ANSI status; it is ESA #114 and it has been recommended to be fenced off. This has not happened.
We’ll continue observing and take our victories where we can find them. Next: to see the signs and that they are replaced; to get hold of the environmental assessment when it is completed; to get the area cordoned off and then rehabilitated.
Continuing the struggle,