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Bridge construction honors Haudenosaunee Confederacy

haundenosaunee bridge.jpg
New York State Department of Transportation
A new bridge in the Town of Onondaga is adorned with the Hiawatha Belt, a symbol of the Haudenosaunee. November 10, 2022.

The completion of a typical bridge over a highway usually doesn’t merit a big celebration. But that wasn’t the case today with a ribbon cutting for the new $6.2 million Sentinel Heights Road Bridge over I-81 in the Town of Onondaga. The state Department of Transportation worked with the Onondaga Nation to craft an image of the Hiawatha Belt that adorns the side of the bridge.

Nation Chief Sid Hill was on hand for Thursday’s event and said it’s important for travelers to know the history of the area. The belt represents the Haudenosaunee, the six nations that formed the Iroquois Confederacy. It’s known as the oldest democratic government.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at