Canandaigua, NY—On November 11, 1794, an historic federal treaty was signed in Canandaigua between the Hodinöhsö:ni’ (Six Nations Confederacy) and the young United States.
It signified peace between the two and recognized the sovereignty of the other as distinct nations to govern and set their own laws. Signers were on Colonel Timothy Pickering—official agent of President George Washington—and sachems from the Six Nations Grand Council. In 2016, Hodinöhsö:ni’ leaders met with United States officials at the White House to commemorate and formally acknowledge the Canandaigua Treaty.
On Sunday, November 11, the public is invited to attend the annual commemoration event and learn about this 224-year-old treaty agreement, to polish the chain of peace and friendship. “It is an important reminder to the U.S. that the treaty continues to be valid and in effect,” notes Peter Jemison, Ganondagan State Historic Site manager. “As treaties are the supreme law of the land, the Canandaigua Treaty also provides an accepted protocol when conflicts arise.”
Attendees gather at 1:30 pm outside the Canandaigua Primary School (96 W. Gibson St.) for a walk to the Ontario County Courthouse lawn. Hodinöhsö:ni’ Chiefs lead the march followed by representatives from their nations and the United States. At 2:00 pm on the front lawn, Jemison introduces the commemoration ceremony opening with the traditional Thanksgiving Address. Hodinosohni’ leaders and other officials will be in attendance, plus Quaker representatives whose ancestors—as people of peace—were witness to the original signing to ensure fair negotiations.
From 12-4 pm, attendees are invited to the Ontario County Historical Society (55 N. Main St.) to view one of only two original copies of the treaty, and pertinent letters. Native American
vendors will be at the Canandaigua Primary School gym from 11 am-6 pm.
At the Canandaigua Primary School at 6:00 pm, attendees can hear keynote speaker Jamie Jacobs (Tonawanda Seneca, Rock Foundation/Rochester Museum and Science Center) whose topic is the Great Law of Peace and Treaty Making.
All activities are free and open to the public. Friends of Ganondagan and the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty Committee host this event organized by the Friends in collaboration with the City of Canandaigua. It is made possible by the Haudenosaunee Peace & Trade Committee, Mohawk Nation Council, Tonawanda Seneca Nation, Tuscarora Nation of Indians, the Seneca Nation of Indians, and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/2feIfhd or call 585-742-1690.
Canandaigua Treaty Day Commemoration Schedule (free and open to the public)
11 am–6 pm: Native American art and craft sale at the Canandaigua Primary School gym
1:30 pm: Walk from Canandaigua Primary School (96 W. Gibson St.) to Ontario County Courthouse (27 N. Main St.)
2:00 pm: Commemoration Ceremony; front lawn of Ontario County Courthouse
6:00 pm: Keynote Speaker Jamie Jacobs (Tonawanda Seneca), Canandaigua Primary School Auditorium
Note: Interviews and past event photos are available on request.