Thursday, April 2, 2015

Meet Native America: Brian Patterson, Bear Clan Representative, Oneida Nation Council, and President of United South & Eastern Tribes

Meet Native American. The National Museum of the American Indian.

"In the interview series Meet Native America, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian invites tribal leaders, cultural figures, and other interesting and accomplished Native individuals to introduce themselves and say a little about their lives and work. Together, their responses illustrate the diversity of the indigenous communities of the Western Hemisphere, as well as their shared concerns, and offer insights beyond what’s in the news to the ideas and experiences of Native peoples today." 
-Dennis Zotigh, NMAI 

Brian Patterson, president of United South and Eastern Tribes (USET)
 on podium  at a USET event earlier this year.
Image Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian's Blog.
"Where is the Oneida Nation located?

The Great Oneida Nation is located in our aboriginal territory—a land that has embraced the dust of my ancestors since time immemorial, my homeland—in what is now central upstate New York. Wherever I travel on Turtle Island, though, I feel the patrimony of the people resonate. I feel at home in those territories as I embrace the lifeways of our peoples that define Indian Country. Or as the Mescalero Apache writer and musician once joked, “I am inter-tribal."

Where are the Oneida people originally from?

Turtle Island. Is that not all Oneida territory? As defined by treaty in 1794, our territory exists within our aboriginal homelands. The treaty declared, in part:

The United States having thus described and acknowledged what lands belong to the Oneidas . . . and engaged never to claim the same, nor to disturb them, or any of the Six Nations, or their Indian friends residing thereon and united with them, in the free use and enjoyment thereof.

For as long as the sun shall give light, as long as the rivers flow, as long as the grass shall grow green. That 300,000-acre tract is located in what is now central New York. This land was stolen even before the ink was dry on the treaty. "

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