Everyone’s stopped at one of those markers beside the road, right? But did you know that they often misrepresent our history? They often represent prevailing ideas or politics of the historic period when they were erected. Or they may present the sentiments of the organization that put them up. As James W. Loewen says in his book Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999), these markers can contain “… omissions, distortions, and outright falsehoods..”.
With the NOON Historic Marker Project we set out to analyze historical markers in our region which provide either inaccurate, incomplete or out of context information related to the Onondaga Nation. Please check out our work on the NOON website at http://www.peacecouncil.net/NOON/markers/index.html to learn what we discovered.
Here’s a particular heinous marker just south of Syracuse, between Syracuse and the Onondaga Nation. The marker pays tribute to the scorched earth campaign called The Sullivan-Clinton Campaign. Ordered by General George Washington, it was an effort during the Revolutionary War to destroy the Haudenosaunee Nations and Confederacy. Check out the marker.
You will also be interested in “Ten Questions to Ask at a Historic Site” from Mr Loewen’s book to help you in understand and evaluate markers better in the future.
In addition to the web site we have distributing educational information and presenting programs. Future plans will be working with town historians and other groups and possible to erect markers related to important Onondaga History that has been ignored. We are working on changing an existing marker with input from the Onondaga at Onondaga Lake Park in co-ordination with the park superintendent. It should be erected by the end of the year.
If you would like to help with this project, check out the web site, pick up information the next time you see us tabling at an event, share with family and friends, book our power point program for an organization or become more active and help with our next steps.
You can volunteer or get more information by contacting Sue Eiholzer at 492-2682 or firstname.lastname@example.org.