FORT DRUM, NY (May 16, 2022) — Fort Drum’s Cultural Resources Program team recently hosted an international group of military and civilian professionals for a week-long symposium at LeRay Mansion.
Dr. Laurie Rush, program manager, said the symposium grew out of a request from a foreign officer who wanted to know more about his work on the protection of cultural property. This was followed soon after by another request, and so she extended the invitation to other experts in the field – historians, educators, monuments officers and archaeologists – from France, Canada, United States, Italy, Austria , Greece, Netherlands and United Kingdom.
Rush said attendees brought a wealth of experience in their fields, which led to lengthy discussions on property protection, civil-military relations and cultural affairs during a full week of visits and discussions. presentations.
“The symposium was successful beyond anything I dared to hope for,” Rush said. “I’m sure I learned as much if not more than our guests – and their interest and enthusiasm encouraged me to keep talking about the importance of cultural assets.”
The symposium began with tours of some of the most important archaeological sites on duty, including where a Clovis Point – a sandstone abrading tool – and other artifacts were uncovered during a survey at mid 1990s.
Fort Drum’s Cultural Resources Program also tracks sacred sites, and staff have an ongoing consultative partnership with the Oneida Indian Nation, Onondaga Nation, and St. Regis Mohawk Tribe for the responsible stewardship of these ancestral places. Fort Drum Deputy Fire Chief Steven LaRue told the group how the fire department helps coordinate camping and a campfire for ceremonies at the sacred site.
Later, the group met Ron Patterson, Cultural Program Coordinator for the Oneida Indian Nation, who showed them around the heritage center and introduced them to Haudenosaunee culture and the family structure of the clan.
“His key message was something we talked about a lot, and that is to listen to the host country,” Rush said. “Listen to indigenous people when you’re deployed if you want to know anything about where you are and what you can do. It really resonated with all of us, because I think we’ve all experienced that at one time or another in our work.
Patterson also spoke about the importance of sharing cultural heritage and traditions with the next generation.
Major Robert Friel, of the British Army’s CPP unit, latched onto this theme during a panel discussion when he talked about the copper bracelet he inherited from his grandfather. When the band broke up, he went to great lengths to make a duplicate of the same design. From the broken piece, he had two rings made that his daughters wore around their necks in memory of their great-grandfather.
“My grandfather was probably the real key influence in my life when I was young,” Friel said. “When he died I had his band and wore it every day until it broke. For me, it is as important as anything for my cultural heritage.
This preservation of cultural identity and the work of historians and archaeologists to accurately record it weighed in during a stop at the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Museum. Sepp Scanlin, director of the museum, noted that exhibits showcasing Native American heritage in the north of the country have been approved by representatives of Indian Nation partners, after providing information on what should be displayed.
“The artifacts are from Dr. Rush’s collection, but we are able to display them to the public in the museum to help tell the story,” Scanlin said. “It’s kind of unique, because a lot of my peers don’t have that relationship between the military museum and cultural resources.”
The symposium concluded with a visit to the Akwesasne Cultural Center and St. Regis Catholic Church in Hogansburg. The church was established by French Catholic priests in the Akwesasne district in 1796, and it is one of the oldest buildings in the north of the country. The church represents both the Christian faith and Mohawk traditions.
“The church is beautiful and reflects a combination of Catholic beliefs with indigenous cultural and religious beliefs,” Rush said. “There are even clan animals built into the wall of the church and depicted above the altar. The Mohawk women were so friendly and they answered all kinds of questions about their religious beliefs and culture. They even provided a detailed description of how to properly prepare Indian corn for making soup.
Major Will Fitzsimons, an Army Civil Affairs Reservist with a doctorate in African history and linguistics, enjoyed the time spent exploring the indigenous culture surrounding Fort Drum. As an Air Force civilian historian, he said the time spent discussing the CPR with symposium members was equally enlightening.
“I think it’s been fantastic to spend so much time with NATO partners who are working on similar types of projects, and to have the chance to network and build this community with them,” he said. he declares. “I learned a lot about the different nuances between how the United States looks at cultural property protection for the military and how NATO does it. We are all working towards the same thing but using different approaches slightly different.
|Date posted:||16.05.2022 12:48|
|Location:||FORT DRUM, NY, USA|
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