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June 13, 2013

Deowongo Island dedication planned

Staff Report
Cooperstown Crier

---- — Otsego Land Trust and the Canadarago Lake Improvement Association are inviting the public to participate in the community dedication of Deowongo Island as a shared public space on June 22.

The dedication will take place at 11 a.m. on Deowongo Island and will celebrate the rich history, culture and natural heritage of the island, according to a media release. 

Guest speakers will include Tom Porter, founder, spokesperson and spiritual leader of the Mohawk Community of Kanatsiohareke, David Arquette, director of the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force and a citizen of the Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne, Ryan Fagan, board member of the Canadarago Lake Improvement Association, and Virginia Kennedy, executive director of Otsego Land Trust.

Free boat rides to the island for people attending the dedication will leave from Canadarago Public Boat Launch between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Discounted canoes and kayak rentals for the day are available by making a reservation with Canoe & Kayak Rentals & Sales at 286-7349.

“Dewongo Island has always been more than just the center of the lake,” CLIA board member Ryan Fagan said in the release. “It has become central to the memories of so many generations of lake residents. It truly makes our lake unique. The Canadarago Lake Improvement Association is very thankful to Schoenlien’s and the Otsego Land Trust for allowing this centerpiece to remain in our lives, open to all to use, for generations to come.”

David Arquette offers the words of Deganawidah, the Peacemaker of the Haudenosaunee — the Iroquois people — words that also capture the heart of OLT’s mission to protect healthy land and clean water now and for the future: “Think not of yourselves, nor of your generation. Think of continuing generations of our families, think of our grandchildren and those yet unborn, whose faces are coming from beneath the ground.”

Through the generosity of the Schoelein family, OLT is honored to be the owner and steward of Deowongo Island, which for generations has been a special place for the Iroquois people and for Canadarago Lake residents and visitors alike, said the release. Deowongo Island will be a place for the public to connect to and enjoy the land and the lake, now and for the future.