NEWSLETTER fhw logo FALL 2020

Native American Heritage
Month Celebration


Photo by Stephen Walker on Unsplash


In recognition of November being designated as Native American Heritage Month, the Eighth Judicial District held its first annual celebratory event on Nov. 28, 2019. Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission member NYS Justice Mark A. Montour opened the event with the traditional thanksgiving address (Ohen:ton Karihwatekhkwen). Justice Montour spoke the address in Kanyen’keha (Mohawk language). Next, three native dancers in traditional dress performed a series of dances commemorating the gifts in nature that have been bestowed upon us along with a dance recognizing the importance and position of women in the native culture.

Michael Martin, the Executive Director of Native American Community Services, was the guest speaker. Mr. Martin, a faith-keeper, spoke to the audience of 75-100 attendees of the importance of having a Good Mind (ganikwi:yo) and avoiding distractions and issues that would “cloud” our perspectives. A Good Mind is something that is intended to positively affect our thoughts, attitudes, actions and behaviors. It is a way of living, a way of being –a discipline. It is a personal power for achieving skä·noñh –a state of peace and well-being. Peace can be defined as achieving balance and harmony within ourselves, with each other, and with all of the natural world. Mr. Martin stressed “if we can have more people living with a Good Mind, we will also have more peace and well-being individually, but also within our families, across our communities, and in the world. These teachings are universal, but sharing our perspectives often enlightens others and reminds them of the universality in our common humanity.”

The celebration concluded with a luncheon featuring traditional native food consisting of corn soup, fried bread, mashed beans and a strawberry drink.


Hon. Mark A. Montour with Native Dancers above and addressing the audience below.



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