Schaghticoke First Nations Newsletter

Review of recent events and notice of upcoming events

By: Tribal Support, Kristin Stinavage

FoxFire Story

By: Wolf-Walker Conley 
Powwaw (Spiritual Leader), Tribal Council

Years ago, a very old storyteller told me that telling a tale is like making corn soup; we add a little more or a less of the ingredients, but the soup is still corn. Our traditional stories are like soup, the teller adds a little each telling. That little addition infuses the people back into the mix, never ending, like the small creeks that feed a mighty river.

And so, I share with you a tale many moons old, yet new:

“FoxFire Story”


It has been told, that when the great thunder/pethakhuwe sparked the central fires of the nations, the people became unified and established the clans ensuring all the people would be honored and have a home. This was good, fire provided warmth and welcome to all.

This was long ago, and all the animals, plants, trees and creatures could talk to each other. Okwes/Fox who was very clever, thought he too should have this thing called fire. He tried to think of a way to create fire, but try as he might, he could not figure out fire.

One day, he was visiting the Opsuwiheleyok/Geese people and asked an elder if he would teach him to fly. The elder agreed to teach him; but cautioned him never to open his eyes while flying or the magic would be lost.

So, fox took to the wing with his newfound friends and learned the craft of flight. On one such journey, it became night and darkness descended quickly as they flew over the village of the Sasapis/firefly people. The geese where talking about the lack of moon light and how difficult night flying can be, especially with the clouds blocking the stars. One remarked on the light from the nearby firefly village as a great help though. Hearing that, Fox forgot his promise to keep his eyes closed while flying and opened his eyes to see the light. The magic of flight was no longer his and he fell from the sky like a stone. His fall was heart-stopping, but short as he landed in the soft arms of a sacred cedar tree. Tree people have always been of help to those in need and be it a fox falling from the night sky or not; Telala/white cedar was there to quietly help. Fox thanked cedar and gave farewell as he left the treetop and reached the safety of ground. The firefly village was not far off and fox had his eyes set on seeing their fire light. Perhaps he had found his fire the hard way, but where a fire light is seen, there must be a fire like the two-legged have.

Several kind fireflies approached fox, each gave him a blue shell necklace of welcome and asked if he was well after his fall. They asked what happened to his feathers and why he was covered in red fur, assuming he was a goose. Fox made up a story saying that his feathers were lost in the fall and cedar let him borrow a fur coat. He knew they would not believe a fox could fly. Fox hoped to persuade the fireflies to tell him where he could get some fire. They led him away from the cedar tree and invited him to their village.

When they arrived at the village Fox waited to be taken to their central fire, but as the night progressed, he saw the faint glow each firefly had on their tail end. He decided that they must be hiding their fire, so he had to find a way to sneak away when no one was looking to have a look around. Fox suggested to the fireflies, that they have a potluck gathering with all the village for dancing and food.

They all agreed that would be fun and helped gather food and summon the drummers. Secretly, Fox was planning on getting away from the fireflies while the music and dancing was underway. The drumming circle started and after a while Fox pretended to tire from beating the drum. He gave his beater to a firefly who wanted to join in and excused himself. Fox quickly left the potluck and headed towards a glowing light he saw at the far side of the village. Little did he know that the glow was coming from the village burial grounds, but he was determined to have fire and the light was promising. The firefly people’s Sachem/Chief had “walked-on” after a long life. He had served his people well and he was being prepared for burial and his glow had not left his “earth body”, that was the light young fox saw.

So straight to the burial grounds Fox ran, but as he got closer, he noticed the old sachem was the source of the light. Frightened, Fox approached the sachem in the faint glow and decided to ask him the secret of his light, "Old man, how do you carry the light within you?” now, this was no way to speak to a sachem, but fox didn’t know he addressed a great chief and continued asking about the fire secret. Fox suddenly realized he was being watched and called out; “who is there in the dark? Come out.” With that a large hand came out of the night and rested on fox’s head, fox wished to run, but could not. A voice like a deep bear growl informed fox that it was the Mesingw he spoke with and respect needed to be shown. Mesingw told fox he had come to bid the sachem a good journey and asked fox if he were doing the same. Fox explained his search for fire had brought him and asked to be forgiven for his rude ways. Mesingw thought it good that fox humbled himself and would gift him with fire, but it would be a cool fire like the fireflies.

Mesingw gathered the firefly people and told them that fox would share their gift of light, but it would only be during the warm months to honor their sachem’s passing. The fire shall be called Foxfire and unlike the two-legged one’s fire, it will be cool and light the way for those lost on dark nights. All gathered thought this was good, and the firefly people said they would join fox during the warm season to assist. Now, many years later, the faint glow of the foxfire and the dancing light of the firefly blesses the summer nights.

-Wolf-WalkerSFN Powwaw (Spiritual Leader), Tribal Council



“Foxfire is a natural phenomenon sometimes visible at night in forests. It's caused by bioluminescent fungi in special conditions—usually on rotting bark.”

2019 Unity Gathering

2019 Unity Gathering

 Naming Ceremony

2019 Unity Gathering
Tree planting for Food Forestry Project at Watershed

Thank you to the Watershed Center for hosting the
Schaghticoke First Nations Unity Gathering!!

SFN Clan Mother Alonda Bear Woman Snowbird Powell-Johnson begins her
Doula Training

Earth's Natural Touch Website:

Baxter Clinton Firefly, SFN Council & Tribal member at Relational Uprising Embodying Training

From Relational Uprising Facebook Page:
"Deepest gratitude to our summer #Embodying cohort of 2019! What a transformative journey of #RelationalCulture this past weekend co-created among inspiring relational leaders from Schaghticoke First Nations, Cosecha, IfNotNow, Extinction Rebellion NYC, Healing Justice Podcast, Equity Matters, New York ACLU, SUNY New Paltz, Goddard Collegue, Abundance Leadership Consulting, and Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism. Special thanks to Desta Cantave, Justin Taft-Morales, Juan Reid, Sachem HawkStorm, Al Basile, Noah Schuettge and Mark Fairfield for all your amazing facilitating support on the training team. Also The Watershed Center for hosting us! We are thrilled to be building this culture with you. #RelationalSomatics #RelationalEmbodying "

Alonda Bear Woman Snowbird, Aldonna Snowflake, Shawn Noble Wolf & Corbin Whistling Wind of
SFN Council & Tribe at
Relational Uprising Bonding Training

From Relational Uprising Facebook Page:
Deepest gratitude to our summer 2019 #Bonding cohort! What a powerful and humbling journey of #RelationalCulture we had this past weekend. We’re learning so much from you. Thank you to all the relational co-creators from Schaghticoke First Nations, Black Visions Collective, I Have a Future, Dolores Street Community Service, IfNotKnow, Center for Jewish Nonviolence and Railroad Street Youth Project. Special thanks to Desta Cantave, Justin Taft-Morales, Juan Reid, Sachem HawkStorm, Noah Schuettge, Al Basile and Teal Van Dyck for all your amazing facilitating support on the training team. Also The Watershed Center for hosting us. We are honored to be building this culture with you. #RelationalBonding #Resonance#StoriesOfConnection

Beyond the 7th Fire Conversations on
Radio Kingston with
Sachem HawkStorm

(All Photos are 'clickable' to bring you to the recorded conversation and listen if you like)

In this episode of Beyond the 7th Fire Radio Kingston with Sachem HawkStorm, he talked to Tai Pellicier to bring more light on the Puerto Rico's current political state.

Tai Pelli is a Borikén Taíno, (a Taíno Indigenous person from Puerto Rico); Officer of the United Confederation of Taíno People and Co-founder of the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization. She is an International Human Rights, Environmental Rights and Indigenous Peoples' Rights Advocate. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Indian Treaty Council.

Lyla June is a poet, musician, anthropologist, educator, public speaker and community organizer of Diné, Cheyenne and European lineages. Her dynamic, multi-genre presentation style has invigorated and inspired audiences across the globe towards personal, collective and ecological healing. She blends studies in Human Ecology at Stanford, graduate work in Indigenous Pedagogy, and the traditional worldview she grew up with to inform her perspectives and solutions.

On this episode of Beyond the 7th Fire with Sachem HawkStorm he brought Roberto Mukaro Borrero back on the show (from the very first B7F first episode!) to talk about Taino culture & history. And share some of Roberto's own music!

A very close friend and mentor of Sachem HawkStorm, Roberto Mukaro Borrero is a member and a leader of the Guainia Taino Tribe and the President of the United Confederation of Taino Peoples.

Links to some of Roberto's Music:

Starting with a tribute song, Like the Mauna by Brother Mikey, to Ku Kia'i Mauna, Mauna Kea (pictured) as a thirty-meter telescope has just been built atop this sacred site, on Beyond the 7th Fire with Sachem HawkStorm, he shared songs that have a special importance to him. Playing song(s) from the following artists and talking a bit about each: Nahko And Medicine For The PeopleLyla June JohnstonSatsang, & Brother Mikey.

These songs have a cultural significance, historically and/or currently, and others that inspire Sachem HawkStorm. Check this show out to hear some of his personal playlist!

Jimmy Buff, Executive Director of Radio Kingston, How to be a good ally to Indigenous Peoples

Jimmy Buff began his radio journey at the legendary WNEW-FM. Buff came to the Catskills in 1993 to work at the legendary WDST and along the way has had stops at K-Rock in New York City and WEHM in East Hampton. In addition, Buff has done national TV, for ESPN and the Outdoor Life Network (now NBCSN), and locally hosted Kingston Now on RNN. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Buff has written about adventure for the Poughkeepsie Journal and the Catskill Mountain Region Guide and loves dogs and his family’s ancient (20!) cat.

The main topic of this conversation is about what it means to be a good ally to indigenous peoples. Covering current & historical cultural appropriation and how that has effected indigenous peoples everywhere.

Brought to you by the Schaghticoke First Nations and the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL)

A very special hour of stories, sharing, ceremony and connection

Great-Grandmother Mary Lyons (Ojibwe/First Nations) and Grandmother Doreen Bennett (Maori-Whanganui) in conversation with Sachem HawkStorm.

Mary Lyons is a Water Carrier and Ojibwe Elder from Minnesota. Beyond traveling and teaching internationally, sometimes in collaboration with the Indigenous Grandmothers of the Sacred WE, she is working to bring justice for dozens of missing and murdered indigenous women in her region. She is the author of the Wisdom Lessons: Spirited Guidance from Ojibwe.

Wisdom Keeper Doreen Bennett of the Maori-Whanganui tribe, visits us all the way from Aotearoa, New Zealand. This past March the Whanganui succeeded in securing the rights for their sacred Whanganui River to be protected under laws extended to a person.

Shantar Baxter Clinton “Wbatasi” (Firefly),  Schaghticoke Tribal Council

Baxter is the youngest member on the Schaghticoke First Nation’s Tribal Council. He was raised primarily by his mother and spent his younger years traveling America. Baxter was accepted to Bard College at Simon’s Rock and started higher education after his sophomore year of high school. Baxter received his Associates of the Arts Degree, then transferred to the University of Maine to finish up his Bachelors degree in journalism. Baxter is actively attending school and works in the mental-health industry with troubled children in a residential facility. Baxter wants to use his skills to develop youth workshops and assist in tribal research and development.


Corbin Farrar Whistling Wind, Schaghticoke Tribal Member

Corbin is a 21 year old male, his heritage is Native American African American and Irish.  He works part time as a Teachers Aide at an Early Learning Center for children ages 1 - 5 . Corbin is also a full time student at Housatonic Community College for Criminal Justice. His passion is learning more about my Native American culture along with its custom traditions. Recently he has began studying the Native Language and look forward to passing it down to the youth of my tribe.


Food Forests

Imagine if Clean Foods were no longer an issue.


Leaving our forests alone is not the answer. Most of our forests are not old growth and do not have the diversity they once had to sustain themselves. We have a responsibility to repair the damage that we have caused through the mining and charcoal industries. We have wiped out the diversity that has sustained us for thousands of years. Scarcity of food and the lack of diversity in our forests have caused the loss of many animal species. Our regional climates are all completely affected by this too.


New York State alone is 63 percent forested -- forests cover 18.9 million acres of our 30 million total acres. Just Think if we used Indigenous Peoples Knowledge of Food Forest management in New York State. This would recover our environment for ourselves and all other living beings with: sustainable food sources, biodiversity, self sustainable ecosystems, strong sustainable animal diversity, more extreme climate resistant forestry systems, thriving bee population, nitrogen rich forest soil, natural water filtration systems, less erratic weather patterns and so much more.


Schaghticoke First Nations proposes a challenge. To all land based projects, work with us in leading a movement on the East Coast. Make a pledge to join us in this Indigenous Food Forest Project in our Territory.


It's time to be leaders down the Green path to a sustainable future for our next Generations. We no longer have the luxury of waiting for a Capitalism based Economy, to do the right thing.


SFN will be building a formal project Proposal soon. All interested parties please email us at


“Let's get back to what's important, think about our next 7 generations down the road, live with the land or lose it all”

Sachem Wushowunan Kesikbesek

Upcoming Events

Bear Mountain Pow Wow

August 3-4, 2019
Two Day Native American Pow wow and Festival. Native American dancing, music, art food and more. Over 40 artist booths selling crafts, jewelry, leather goods and traditional works of art.

Location: Anthony Wayne Rec Area

Date & Time: August 3rd & 4th, 2019; 11am-7pm

For more information, Email or call #718-686-9297.

Grand Entry of Dancers at 1pm and 5pm

Tickets: $12 adults and teens, $10 seniors and students, $8 ages 6-12, children (age 5 & under) Free, New: $35 family 4-packs (must be purchased online); Free Parking

•Limited seating available so you’re welcome to bring your own chairs and/or Umbrellas.
•Redhawk PowWows are Rain or Shine outdoor events therefore no refunds will be given.
• No alcohol or drugs, no outside food, drinks, ice or coolers will be allowed on the premises.

For more information visit

Facebook Event Page:

Decolonizing Our Hearts, Minds & Movements

August 18-23, 2019

PLEASE SUPPORT: Indigenous People's Day

October 13 & 14
Randall's Island
The Indigenous Peoples Celebration of New York City is seeking funds for its fifth annual FREE gathering on Randall's Island, which will take place over two days on October 13th and 14th and will feature many indigenous performers and speakers! 

As always, we throw this event to honor and celebrate the Indigenous Peoples of this land. Our purpose is to highlight and support the current national movement to change outdated holidays and monuments honoring figures who have brought harm on the vulnerable populations. Specifically, we support and propose that Columbus Day be changed to Indigenous Peoples Day in New York City and that all monuments honoring Columbus be removed, as honoring this man is rooted in inaccuracy and celebrates a tragic history of genocide and violence against the Indigenous Peoples of this country. New York City’s celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day would contribute greatly to the healing of America’s indigenous community, and it would honor this community’s resilience, strength, and ongoing contributions to American culture and history. Indigenous Peoples and their voices are more important now than ever, with this community leading the way on current, urgent issues like the growing call for greater environmental awareness and protections.

We ask that New York City to join Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, Minneapolis, Portland, Sante Fe, Berkeley, Rapid City, Madison, and many other cities who recognize that now is the time to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.  Please help us raise funds to support this free community event as we gather on Randall's Island for two days to celebrate Indigenous Cultures.

SFN Culture Day

October 5

Drawdown Learn Conference

What Schools & Communities Can Do About Climate Change

Oct 18 - Oct 20 2019 

Relational Uprising Upcoming Workshops

Relational Culture 3: Bridging

  • Thu, Sep 26, 2019 2:00 PM  
  • Sun, Sep 29, 20194:00 PM
  • The Watershed Center

This module explores the intentional practice of unveiling and acknowledging the need to be influenced and changed by one another's and other communities’ diversities in sustained and complex ways to ensure equity in our collaborative work. Through Relational Inquiry & Resolution, Bridging Legacy & Destiny, and Story of Us Now practice we learn to sustain inclusion and access for all, and to maintain a collective commitment to a culture of resilience that counteracts the culture of dominance and exclusion.

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Schaghticoke First Nations · 4 Dineen Rd · Millbrook, NY 12545-5379 · USA