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Letters: Keep building bonds with Onondaga neighbors

To the editor:

As many of us prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation encourages all to thank our Onondaga neighbors for their efforts to protect our shared environment and offer their hands in reconciliation. We must think about our joint future.

NOON expresses our deep appreciation to the Onondaga Nation for their many efforts to accomplish these goals which are critical to our future. The Onondaga have always been environmental stewards and over the past five and a half years, since filing their Land Rights Action in federal court, the Onondaga have solidified their leadership role in environmental protection in our region and beyond.

They were actively involved in the effort to replace sewage treatment plants with green infrastructure in Syracuse, continue pushing for a thorough cleanup and restoration of Onondaga Lake, have inspired many of us to oppose hydrofracking and have continued their centuries-long role of reminding us to think about the seventh generation.

Despite all this good work, the Onondaga Land Rights Action was dismissed earlier in the fall based on a series of recent legal decisions. Our federal courts have once again told our Native American neighbors they will not find justice in our courts. To us this feels like rubbing salt into old wounds. We are disappointed and angered that our institutions continue to turn a blind eye to our treaty obligations to the Onondaga and other native peoples.

Fortunately, on the grassroots level things are very different. Since the Onondaga went to court, nearly 1,000 people have signed NOON's pledge of solidarity with the Onondaga. Thus far there has been a cumulative attendance of nearly 4,000 over the 12 events in the Onondaga Land Rights and Our Common Future series. The celebration concluding this major university-community collaboration, coordinated by NOON, is coming up at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6 at the Onondaga Nation School.

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