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Binghamton University Plants Garden to Honor Onondaga Nation and Three Sisters

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 6:38 PM EDT
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VESTAL (WBNG) -- Students and faculty were able to witness something on Binghamton University’s campus that has been said to not have happened in over 200 years.

“For all of you to be a part of it it’s almost like a stepping back in time, and I really believe that these gardens are the place that begins the path of healing and re-connection and understanding” said Angela Ferguson, Eel Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

Through her consultation with the school, Ferguson, who also oversees the Onondaga Nation Farm, brought a variety of sacred seeds to be planted in the courtyard of the ‘Science 1′ building.

“We owe a lot of what we want to do today to the nations that lived here long before we came here. The planting of the Three Sisters: beans, squash and corn is a tradition not only rooted in making sure the earth is preserved, but also making sure that we are sustained and that we eat and that we live” said Binghamton University President, Harvey Stenger.

Students were given the opportunity to listen to a panel comprised of people from the Haudenosaunee Nations as well. Tony Gonyea of the Onondaga Nation shared a prayer before the planting commenced.

In the garden, five mounds of dirt can be found surrounding a sixth larger mound. These represent the six nations and the Onondaga. Planted in each mound are the ‘Three Sisters’, this is made up of corn, beans, and squash which are planted together.

“We are instructed is indigenous people that we are not better we are not above and we’re not under our food we are on the same level of living and that its relative to is in that realm” said Ferguson.

She adds that the planting the seeds is a representation of hope.

“This is my passion, is planting, when you see the plants come up it kind of brings you that message of hope when you put your seats in the ground you’re hoping that that life form is going to sprout and then when it does it’s almost like a comfort that provides to you to know that hope lives on.”