Five Twists
(Commentary on Twisted Footnotes to Wounded Knee by David Yarrow)


Tragic, regrettable irony has further astonishing twists.

L. Frank Baum was from Chittenango, NY, and lived there when he published "The Wizard of Oz." Chittenango is at the crossing of Routes 5 & 13, 13 miles east of Syracuse, at the Heart of the Empire State. Today, Chittenango

has a yellow brick sidewalk, and every year a Wizard of Oz parade.

L. Frank Baum married a young woman from Fayetteville, 7 miles east of Syracuse. They wed in the parlor of his financee's home at the corner of Genesee and Walnut Sts.

Now the first twist:

Baum's mother-in-law was Mathilde Joslyn Gage, a foremother of modern feminism, one of the Trinity of the Three Sisters who led women's rights to victory in America.

In 1851 the third national women's rights convention was held in Syracuse, the Salt City, built by the Onondaga Salt Springs Reservation. In ancient culture, salt was a power of Virgins -- dedicated to The Mother; in Tarot, the High Priestess sits on a cubic crystal of salt.

In 1851 in the Salt City, for the first time, Mathilde joined Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony on a platform. At age 26, Mathilde was the youngest woman to speak, yet her speech was printed as the new movement's literature. Together, these Three Sisters led Womens' Sufferage to enfranchise women -- something the Founding Fathers left out.

For 50 years Mathilde Joslyn Gage sustained this quality of leadership, not only in rhetoric, but also strategy, theory and research. After the victory, Susan, Elizabeth and Mathilde wrote "The History of Women's Suffrage."

In 1893, at age 67, Mathilde published her life's research of women in ancient human civilizations -- and the challenges to women in modern society. In "Women, Church and State" Mathilde insisted the real issue women face isn't the right to vote, nor is their real enemy the State. Our struggle, she said, is for possession of our souls, and our children's souls; our true opponent is all-male Church hierarchy.

This was too radical for the Christian Temperance sisters of Mathilde's age.

Now comes the second twist:

Mathilde Joslyn Gage was an Honorary Member of the Haudenosaunee Council of Clanmothers -- an honored guest at theOnondaga Nation south of Syracuse. Onondaga is still Firekeeper of Six Nations Confederacy Grand Council.

The Onondagas' matrilineal society gives women title to family name, land, and each Chief's Council seat. Clanmothers administer the selection of a Chief, and can order his removal; their Council can veto a decision of the Chiefs to go to war.

Mathilde didn't only theorize on women's role. She participated in North America's oldest surviving matrilineal society and government.

And a third twist:

The Six Nations Confederacy was both inspiration and model for the Founding Fathers to declare liberty from Britain's King, and establish the United States of America. Mathilde herself wrote this in "Women, Church and State."

As early as 1854, at the first continental meeting of the colonies called by Ben Franklin at Albany, NY, Mohawk Chief Tiyanoga was invited to describe his peoples' form of self-government, liberty and peace. Franklin then offered his first Plan of Union for a Grand Council of American colonies.

In 1773, as Sons of Liberty, disguised as Indians, dumped imported tea in Boston Harbor, they sang:

"Rally Mohawks, bring your axes,
tell King George we'll pay not taxes
on his foreign tea."

Three years later, on June 10, 1776 a delegation of Six Nations ambassadors, led by an Onondaga, were welcomed as "brothers" by President John Hancock to a Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.

The Declaration of Independence was signed three weeks later.

And a fourth spin:

The Six Nations Confederacy was founded in ancient time by a legendary figure who appeared one day on Onondaga Lake in a white stone canoe. This virgin-born Messenger from the Creator is remembered as The Peacemaker.

Hiawatha was an Onondaga who adopted the Path of Peace, and became Peacemaker's spokesman. It was at Onondaga Lake (the Salt Lake), first in the chain of Finger Lakes, that Peacemaker gathered the original Five Nations to "bury the hatchet" and plant The Tree of Peace.

After transmitting The Great Law of Peace, this Messenger from the Creator vanished from history.

And a fifth (but not final) spin:

In June 1990 the Salt Treaty between the Onondaga Nation and New York State expired after a 200 year term. The Empire State lease for Salt Lake and Salt City has lapsed. The Onondaga Nation has notified State they must now negotiate a new agreement.

Yes, L. Frank Baum, we made a mistake. And now, the 1990s, is its time to come back to haunt us.

Oct. 15, '90, at a site by Onondaga Lake named four times in the 1790 Salt Treaty as the place of beginning, Pyramid Cos. opened Carousel Center, flagship of their 23 shopping malls -- 5-story Temple of Consumption with green skylights. It looks like The Emerald City; Syracuse newspapers said so.

While shoppers rush to a new emerald Carousel Castle by the Salt Lake, the Three Sisters -- Liberty, Justice and Peace -- knock on a locked door at the Heart of the Empire State.

This is no fairy tale, but is how the unbroken threads of history and her story converge by Onondaga Lake in this last decade of a century which began with "The Wizard of Oz."

Before U.S. attacks Iraq, President (no longer King) George "the burning" Bush had best have our soldiers bury the hatchet in Gulf sands and plant trees of peace in Middle East deserts. Time to be forest, not against us -- not just beat swords into plowshares, but transform warriors into peacemakers.

We in the West had better answer the knock on our Empire State door. It's at our back door.

This isn't just information, but awareness to appeal for action.

You are now aware.



Wounded Knee

First Nations