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Kinzua destroyed native culture |

Kinzua destroyed native culture

Regarding the Sept. 18 Remember When column: Despite the great good the Kinzua Dam has provided the region since it became operational in 1966, little mention is made of the ancient culture its construction destroyed. In 1794, the Seneca Nation and President George Washington signed the Treaty of Canandaigua, creating a 30,000-acre sovereign territory for the native Americans. But in 1961, President John Kennedy authorized the taking, via eminent domain, of 10,000 acres and forced 600 Seneca members to relocate from their sacred home. The rich farmland was flooded and only some of the burial grounds were relocated.

This demonstrated again that the best way to erase a people and their history is to act like they never – or no longer – existed.

There are 562 officially recognized native tribes in the United States. Each has a distinct culture, language, government and sovereign territory. They consider their land sacred. All the more reason not to destroy it for the sake of a pipeline or highway.

Bryan J. Heyl


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