Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

The Branch of Peace Foundation Presents A Day of Peace


By Kaniehtonkie

Kirby Kawarawana Jock, President and Co-Founder of The Branch of Peace Foundation, grew up in Akwesasne and like many young men here – he was taught the Kaienerakowa and the principles of "Skennen."

Throughout his youth and adulthood, he tried his best to understand and live the principles of both the Great Law and peace. It was in his formative years finishing his master's degree program at the University of Washington that Kawarawana took a deeper look into Kaienerakowa. One required class was dedicated to mediation and negotiation – an entire field of study dedicated to peace and resolving conflicts. It was there that he immediately sought to learn the 'tools of mediation and become a professional mediator' and with 'like-minded people,' he formed a Board of Directors and together 'co-founded' the non-profit organization to promote peace and resolve conflict – The Branch of Peace Foundation.

According to Kawarawana, his pursuit of peace took on an academic perspective. He said, "A fellow mediator sent me a speech by Leon Shenandoah at the UN in the 1980's. In the speech he proposed that the nations of the world consider 'one day of global peace, cease-fire, and non-violence.'"

After advocacy for that idea for many years, by many people, in 2001 an international "Day of Peace" was eventually unanimously approved by all nations at the UN (Sept. 21st).

He added, "In advocating for peace in our world, The Branch of Peace Foundation recognizes the important achievement of 'one day of global peace' agreed to by all nations. However, it must also be understood that Indigenous Nations have no seat at the UN. After many years of peace work in non-native communities, I contemplated how best to begin this work in native communities. I decided to come home and propose that each government in Akwesasne recognize the annual Day of Peace, as an exercise of sovereignty, and as a commitment to the principle of skennen, in honor of our ancestors and the future generations to come."

All governments represented in Akwesasne have now officially passed resolutions in this regard. They are online at the Facebook page: @kanienkehaka.skennen.

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Two decades later, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. The United Nations invites all nations and people to honor a cessation of hostilities during the day, and to otherwise commemorate the day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.

The Day of Peace will feature "A Day of Peace Forum" with representatives from the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and Mohawk Council of Akwesasne attending. It will be a day "in which all Kanienkehaka can stand together on one day in a spirit of peace, in honor of our ancestors and the future generations to come."

According to Jock, the Day of Peace Forum will begin with an opening at 9AM with the morning session being dedicated to the generations of the past, and to sharing knowledge and good thoughts of how peace was grown by the Kanienkehaka by the generations of the past. The afternoon session is dedicated to the generations of the future, and to sharing knowledge and good thoughts of how peace could be grown by the Kanienkehaka for the generations of the future.

All Kanienkehaka are invited to the 2018 Day of Peace Forum at Tsionkwanati:io in Akwesasne on September 21, 2018.


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