225th Anniversary of Historic Federal Canandaigua Treaty Celebrated on Nov 11

Photo by Alex Hamer Photography

Public Event Recognizes Sovereignty, Peace, and Friendship Between Nations

On Monday, November 11, the 225th anniversary of the historic, federal Canandaigua Treaty of 1794 will be celebrated at the location of its original signing. All activities are free and the public is encouraged to attend. 

The annual commemoration serves to “polish the chain of peace and friendship” between the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Confederacy) and the young United States. The treaty was signed by Colonel Timothy Pickering—official agent of President George Washington—and sachems from the Six Nations Grand Council. It signified peace between the two and recognized the sovereignty of the other as distinct nations to govern and set their own laws.

Event emcee Ganondagan State Historic Site Manager Peter Jemison (Seneca) has announced that two descendants of Colonel Pickering—Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Timothy (Tim) Pickering—will be in attendance. Ambassador Thomas Pickering is a Distinguished Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. He served more than four decades as a U.S. diplomat, last serving as under secretary of state for political affairs.

“Our rededication event is an important reminder to the U.S. that treaties are the supreme law of the land, and that this treaty continues to be valid and in effect,” said Peter Jemison (Seneca), Ganondagan State Historic Site manager. 

Attendees gather at 1:30 pm outside the Canandaigua Primary School (96 W. Gibson St.) for a march to the front lawn of the Ontario County Courthouse. Haudenosaunee Chiefs lead the march followed by representatives from their nations and the public. At 2:00 pm, Jemison opens the commemoration ceremony with the traditional Thanksgiving Address. Haudenosaunee leaders and other officials will be present, plus Quaker representatives whose ancestors—as people of peace—were witness to the original signing, ensuring fair negotiations. 

From 12-4 pm, attendees are invited to the Ontario County Historical Society (55 N. Main St.) to view one of only two original copies of the treaty, plus pertinent letters. Native American vendors will be at the Canandaigua Primary School gym from 11 am-6 pm. At 5:30 pm back at the Primary School auditorium, Peter Jemison will present the keynote speech on the significance of the Canandaigua Treaty. Jemison is the co-editor of Treaty of Canandaigua 1794 (Clear Light Publishing, 2000).

Friends of Ganondagan and the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty Committee host this event organized by the Friends in collaboration with the City of Canandaigua. It is made possible by the Haudenosaunee Peace & Trade Committee, Mohawk Nation Council, Tonawanda Seneca Nation, Tuscarora Nation of Indians, the Seneca Nation of Indians, and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. For more information on the treaty, visit ganondagan.org/Learning/Canandaigua-Treaty or call (585) 742-1690. 

Canandaigua Treaty Day Commemoration Schedule (free and open to the public)

11 am–6 pm: Native American art and craft sale at the Canandaigua Primary School gym (96 W. Gibson St.)

1:30 pm: Public walk from Canandaigua Primary School to Ontario County Courthouse (27 N. Main St.)

2:00 pm: Commemoration Ceremony; front lawn of Ontario County Courthouse

5:30 pm: Keynote speaker Peter Jemison (Seneca), Canandaigua Primary School Auditorium

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