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August 2012 Chatter 2

August 2012 Chatter 2

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Published by Carlos Stewart

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Published by: Carlos Stewart on Jul 31, 2012
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Vol. 2 . . . August 2012 . . . No. 8
August seems too hot for holidays, but, still, there are some. The Feast of the Assumption on August 15
marksthe day that the Virgin Mary ascended into heaven. Although, celebrated for centuries, it wasn't until the1950's that Pope Pius XII proclaimed this a dogma of the Church. In a more parochial venue, other holidaysrange from American Artists Appreciation Month to a celebration of Catfish Month. There are many notablebirthdays, from Claude Debussy to Dorothy Parker to Martha Stewart (Beekman Boys don't forget thisauspicious day, the 3
!) July, as always, was a crazy, busy month. There is a reason we call summer, the short season of SharonSprings (as is the title of the out-of-print book by Hansi Durlach.) Glimmerglass Festival opened its season in July with a stellar line-up of 4 productions that are all receiving rave reviews from those I have spoken with.Part of the fun of the season is engaging in what I call, “Opera talk” at the gallery. Without exception,everyone has been delighted. Those who were a bit skeptical about
Music Man 
are dutifully eating theirwords.The Cooperstown Summer Music Festival kicked off its season on July 8
. Artistic Director and flautist, LindaChesis started the festival in 1999. Since then they have offered almost 100 concerts ranging from classicalto jazz to contemporary music. Since 2002 Milton Glaser has designed the festival's poster. Each posterrepresents the perfect fusion of music with the rural landscape and, always with a cow. Posters areavailable at each concert as well as Village Hall Gallery (we can ship anywhere!)Also, they offer 2 free concerts one at the Otesaga on August 2
and another on August 8
at Christ Churchin Cooperstown. For more information www.cooperstownmusicfest.orgThe fundraiser at the American Hotel on July 4
was a big success. Our friend, neighbor and favoritehairdresser, Kim, is completing the final treatment for cancer. Not only did locals rise to the cause withremarkable generosity, but a few folks out-of-town contributed, too. We are all thinking of Kim and herfamily and keeping them in our hearts and prayers.
In this summer of unsettling weather – extreme temperatures, drought, destructive storms [even someskeptics of Global Warming have finally seen the light], my thoughts return to the beliefs and practices of ourNative American people. Recently we attended a traditional Mohawk “Strawberry Festival” at the Mohawk Organic Farm near Palatine Bridge. The opening ceremony led by Tom Porter spoke eloquently of the need toprotect our air, water, trees, soil, fellow creatures, and all that encompasses the natural world. How sad thatthe corporate world of 21
Century America has so completely lost sight of this sense of stewardship.What do we know historically of the people who lived on this land prior to European settlement? TheIroquois or more properly the Haudenosaunee are thought to have arrived here about 3,000 years ago [aftera long trek from the southwestern region] and are thought to be related to the Pueblo people. Although they conquered the Abenaki tribes of the region, modern Iroquois physically resemble the Abenaki more closelthan Native People from the Southwestern region.There were 6 Tribes that made up the Iroquois nation: Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, andTuscarora. The Mohawk and Oneida were closest to Sharon Springs and would have used the several springsas places of healing as well as a place for Spiritual Quests. Their Shamans would have found this space to beespecially sacred. The closest village would have been in Canajoharie [a native word meaning “Pot thatWashes Itself” – after a good rain, it is fun to drive down to Canajoharie and visit the Gorge there to see the“Boiling Pot”!After the Revolutionary War, the native Mohawk tribes lost their lands here and were sent to reservations,most to the north on the Canadian border. About 20 years ago a group returned to buy the former “PoorFarm” along Route 5 just east of Palatine. Tom Porter is the moving force there and has single-handedly keptthe Mohawk language alive by offering courses in language and culture.Native peoples continued to come to Sharon Springs until well into the 20
century. Several Mohawk andAbenaki families owned properties in the village during the 19
century. Others came for the summermonths and camped near the springs. Harper’s magazine in June of 1856 featured an engraving showing anIndian encampment in Sharon Springs. I can personally remember Native American basket makers in theSulphur Springs Park during the 1950’s.Today, the Fenimore Art Museum showcases Iroquois Art and Culture with a festival over Memorial Day weekend as well as the Thaw Collection and several workshops throughout the year. There is the IroquoisMuseum in nearby Howe’s Caverns as well as Tom Porter’s special place just a few miles north of us. In April,the Sharon Historical Society featured Dave Cornelius who spoke about the history of Native Americans inthis area. Dave, who is of Mohawk descent, will hopefully be back for this year’s Harvest Festival onSeptember 15 and 16.
Harper's New Monthly Magazine June 1856“Sulphur Springs of New York” Pages 1-17 (Excerpt from pages 16-17)“ In the woods on the top of the hill, above the springs, was a small encampment of St. Francis Indians, whohave occupied the spot for several consecutive seasons, make and sell baskets, fans, and other splint-work,and give pleasure to visitors by their novelty and the picturesqueness of their little village. The chief amongthem was a very intelligent man, of pure Indian blood, whose wife was a white woman, the daughter of arespectable Methodist clergyman. She was represented as an exemplary wife and mother, and seems to haveacquired all the gravity and stoicism of the people among whom her lot is cast. Day after day she toils there atbasket-making, and appeared happy. Among them, too, was a real beauty of sixteen, whose features Portfoliocaught between the leaves of his sketch-book. He thinks she would have charmed even the venerable Hi-a-wat-ha; and he has since apostrophized her in sixty lines of trochaic metre.”“The water is of two kinds, in one of which magnesia prevails. It is surprisingly crystalline, and deliciously cool, but the taste is that of hard-boiled eggs raised to the nth power. It does not tell its story with thepromptness of the Saratoga, but is very potent on the system, and in rheumatic cases works wonders. There isa settlement of Canadian Indians (Abenaqui) here, who make the most beautiful and various basket-work Iever saw.”2) “Sharon Springs”, by S. F. Fonda, MD, 1854, (outside cover) from the Lane Medical Library, San Francisco.Title Page: “Analysis of Sharon Waters, Schoharie County; Also of Avon, Richfield, and Bedford MineralWaters, with Directions for Invalids”, by Sebastian F. Fonda, M.D., Resident Physician. New York: John J.Schroeder, Medical Bookseller, 75 Third Avenue. 1854. Excerpt from pg. 11:
Thank you, Nancy Pfau – Sharon Town Historian

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