Onondaga Lake is on the road to revitalization with its clean-up in progress, the extension of the loop the lake trail and plans to build an Amphitheater. But the importance of the lake's history and culture has been added to its continued rejuvenation with a County Legislature committee approval of $100,000 from create the Skä•noñh - Great Law of Peace Center. If approved by all lawmakers, the funding will come from the County's room occupancy taxes. The center is planned to be located on the former grounds of the living history museum Sainte Marie Among the Iroquois which closed about 3 years ago. Onondaga Historical Association Executive Director Gregg Tripoli says the new center is a result of different parties coming together.
"It's not about finding where we disagree because there are plenty of places where each of these parties has disagreed in the past. It is about agreeing to disagree civilly and to look to find common ground and consensus where we can build for the future for a much agreeable coexistence."
As proof, Tripoli says a coalition between Onondaga County which owns the facility and the Onondaga Nation came together for the project as well as the partnership between the Onondaga Historical Association and the Onondaga Nation. Historically these organizations have had trouble seeing eye to eye. The name of the center "Skä•noñh", means a greeting of peace and wellness, which could symbolize the growing relationship between organizations. Tripoli describes the rich American history that people will learn at the center.
"If people knew that every time they use the phrase 'bury the hatchet.' If people knew that the founding fathers of this country regularly wrote and spoke about the great law of peace that happened on the shores of Onondaga Lake it instills pride, it gives you chills. It shows how the things that happen right here in our backyard have major impact on how our country was founded."
Tripoli says it will be the first facility of its kind that speaks to Native American heritage, history, and values from the perspective of the Center of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.