Our ancestors tell us that the Eastern Gate is where we will gather to begin the healing of this land. It is here in the East where first contact was made between the Native peoples and the newcomers. It is here that the first blood was spilled between our people, and our history of violence began. So, it is here on this same land that the healing must begin. The Wabanaki, the people of the first light, are the keepers of the Eastern Door. We are the first peoples to greet Kihsus, the Sun, each morning, and Nipawset, the Moon, each evening. Now, we open our hearts and our homes to greet all of you, so that together we may begin t o heal the wounds of Turtle Island and set a new path forward for all life.
Healing the Wounds of Turtle Island
On that day, members of the many bands of the Lenape family of Indians, from as far away as Canada, came to lower Manhattan to participate in an historic healing ceremony with members of the Collegiate Church of New York, the oldest surviving institution of the 17th-century Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam. The event was planned and organized by Intersections, in partnership with representatives of the Lenape people. The Rev. We, the Collegiate Church, recognize our part in your suffering … We consumed your resources, dehumanized your people, and disregarded your culture, along with your dreams, hopes and great love for this land. We express sorrow for our part in these actions. Today, the descendants of the original explorers who landed here have come to the descendants of those who have always been here, and openly apologized for their responsibility in policies that so decimated our peoples. They have extended their hands in friendship to chart a new course of race relations, to usher in a new era of healing and reconciliation that can only have beneficial results for the whole of humanity.
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The Collegiate Church, established in New Amsterdam in , held a healing ceremony with representatives of the Lenape Indians on Friday, November 27, The ceremony marked a reconciliation between Collegiate Church and the Lenape, the result of two years of work and trust-building by Intersections. The ceremony has spiritual elements, on the part of both Collegiate and the Lenape, but was not, strictly speaking, a religious event. The event site was near where the first Collegiate Church was raised in Fort Amsterdam. Surrounding the site are reminders the most enduring contribution by the Dutch to American civic life, an economic system built on Calvinist enterprise and laissez-faire capitalism, exemplified by the Beaux-Arts Custom House itself, Steamship Row, the Standard Oil building and Wall Street. Native Americans were excluded from this feast, however, or were exploited by those who were admitted. That is true, of course. But the Lenape did not have a concept of private ownership of land; likely, they believed that Minuit simply was thanking them for the aid they had given the Dutch settlers when they first started arriving here. However, the Dutch either did not know or did not care to know that fact and proceeded as though they had bought Manhattan outright.
This event is free, but you must register. To register for each daily session, please follow the links in the schedule below. Register in advance for our Friday Opening Ceremony. Please join us for our opening ceremony, with prayers, songs, and greetings from around the world. Sunday prayers will be focused on birthing and building the new. We will have messages on Sunday from the following Indigenous Nations:. On Monday we will hear from a number of participants with closing thoughts and prayers.