Sacred Land in Waterford Returned to Mohawk Hands


By Colleen Farrar
WATERFORD - A strip of land of about 100 acres on the Waterford shore of the Mohawk River around the Cohoes Falls were returned to the Iroquois Confederacy by the Brookfield Power Company, which originally owned both sides of the general area to support their hydroelectric power plant. The land was officially handed over on Saturday, October 6th, in a public ceremony held at the Cohoes Music Hall.
Cohoes Falls is one of the four holiest places to the Iroquois, as the spot where the Peacemaker, founder of the Confederacy, first arrived to the Mohawks. He had travelled across the waterfalls from the Onondagas, who he successfully convinced to join an alliance; but the Mohawks needed more convincing. The Peacemaker climbed a tall tree near the waterfall and asked them to chop the tree down. The tree disappeared, and the Peacemaker with it, ninety feet above the rushing water. He was found on the rivrbank the next morning, unharmed, as proof of a divine mission.

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