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Haudenosaunee Social Shares Oneida Culture


The Shenandoah-Kirkland Initiative hosted the second annual Haudenosaunee Social in the Events Barn on Oct. 12.

“Our goal was to bring more awareness to the campus about Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) culture and to bring more awareness about the land that we stand on, because it is Oneida land,” Shenandoah-Kirkland Initiative executive board member John Dennis ’20 said.

Oneida performers in traditional dress demonstrated seven Haudenosaunee social dances and explained the meanings behind them. The five performers encouraged the audience to participate in each dance.

“We do these dances to uplift our spirits,” Oneida performer Chris Thomas said. “We do them to have fun and socialize.”

The event also included a performance from Oneida rapper Daygot Leeyos. She shared original beats and lyrics. 

The audience of 40 included both Hamilton College students and Clinton residents. They ate a catered dinner from Minar Fine Indian Cuisine throughout the evening. “It’s good to share an evening together,” Oneida representative Brian Patterson said. “We’re not so different after all.”

The Shenandoah-Kirkland Initiative aims to strengthen the relationship between the Hamilton community and the Oneida Nation. Oneida Chief Shenandoah and Rev. Samuel Kirkland founded the Hamilton-Oneida Academy on Oneida land in 1793. 

“Another reason we had this event was to bolster the land acknowledgment we’re having on Monday to recognize the land that we stand on, which is Oneida land, and to get the day renamed as Indigenous Peoples Day,” Dennis said. Approximately 100 students, faculty, staff, and community members attended the hour-long celebration of the day and acknowledgment of the land on Monday. The club plans to host other events to connect the Oneida Nation and Hamilton students.

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