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2024 Otselic Valley Fishing and Heritage Association Reading Program

Journey through Chenango: "Land of the Oneidas"

This program is possible as a result of a grant from The Roger W. Follett Foundation. We appreciate their commitment to Chenango County and its citizens.

Presenters: Daniel Koch and Michael Foor-Pessin

  • Day: Wednesday evening, July 31st from 4:00pm-8:00pm
  • Place: The Chenango County Historical Society Museum in Norwich (45 Rexford Street, Norwich, New York 13815)
  • Time:
    4:00pm to 6:00pm: Tours of the Haudenosaunee exhibition
    5:30pm: Book distribution
    6:00pm: Listen to a fascinating talk by Daniel Koch
  • Registration: Email Mike Foor-Pessin at foorpessin@gmail.com or click here to register on Eventbrite.

  Michael Foor-Pessin, Vice-chair of the Otselic Valley Fishing and Heritage Association is pleased to announce that for the third year in a row the Roger Follett Foundation INC has funded a community reading program. The title of this year’s program is “Journey Through Chenango: Land of the Oneidas.” As in previous years, this program will be centered on a work of nonfiction and fiction. This year’s selections are Daniel’s Koch’s “Land of the Oneidas” (2023) and Walter Edmonds’ “Drums Along the Mohawk” (1936). The specific purpose of the program is to generate a county-wide discussion about the role that the Oneida Nation and other Haudenosaunee Nations have played and continue to play in the evolving heritage of Central New York and the United States. In 2026, we will celebrate the 250 th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Both books address the Revolutionary Era from 1774 to 1783 and especially concentrate on the role that the Oneida Nation played in helping the American patriots secure a victory over the British.

  Author Daniel Koch will join several members of the Oneida Nation in presentations addressing this critical time in America’s history during our program. The Chenango County Historical Society and C.S. Miller Books in Norwich New York have joined the Otselic Valley Fishing and Heritage Association and the Follett Foundation in sponsoring this valuable series. The first session of the program will be held on the campus of the Chenango County Historical Society Museum in Norwich (45 Rexford Street, Norwich, New York 13815) on Wednesday evening, July 31 from 4:00pm-8:00pm. From 4:00pm-6:00pm, attendees can take guided tours of the Haudenosaunee exhibition at the museum and enjoy other informative programing. At 5:30, forty copies of both books will be distributed, free of charge, to folks who have signed up earlier for the reading program. If a few books are still unreserved by the time the program starts, interested people can sign up then. At 6:00pm, Daniel Koch will present a program on his book “Land of the Oneidas.” This presentation is open to all residents, free of charge and will be held in the Loomis Barn. You don’t have to have signed up for the reading program to attend. After Daniel’s presentation is concluded, folks will have time to have their books signed. For participants who are not part of the reading program, C.S. Miller Books will have a limited supply of Daniel’s books available for sale the night of the event.

  The second session will also be held on the campus of the Historical Society in Norwich on Saturday, October 12, from 1:00-3:00pm. Once again, the Otselic Valley Fishing and Heritage Association Reading program will be in Norwich to help the Chenango County Historical Society celebrate “Museums and More” and Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The museum staff is working with the Oneida Nation to offer a range of programs that day from 10:00am-4:00pm, so this is the perfect opportunity for us to join the celebration. During our two-hour session, we will discuss the two books that were distributed in July. Also, Jessica Farmer, the Cultural Programs Coordinator at the Oneida Indian Nation, will present the fascinating story of Polly Cooper and her role in the American Revolution at Valley Forge, the legend of the standing stone, and other topics related to Oneida culture. A film produced by the Oneida Nation will highlight the role that the Oneida played in the Revolutionary war.

  Finally, we are hoping that participants in the program can join us for a field trip to visit the Shako:wi Cultural Center, the Oneida Carrying Place, Fort Stanwix, and the Oriskany Battlefield on Saturday, September 14. Our trip coincides with the Oneida Nation Fall Festival that will feature an array of activities located on the site of historic Fort Stanwix. Within an hour’s drive for most Chenango County residents are important historic landmarks that dramatically tell the story of the American Revolution. The OVF&HA would love to involve students and teachers from the Otselic Valley Central School in this exciting program. Other schools in Chenango County should also consider taking advantage of this opportunity to experience history firsthand.

  Folks who have questions should contact Michael Foor-Pessin at (315)653- 7811 or foorpessin@gmail.com. Very soon, books will be able to be reserved online at Eventbrite. In the meantime, books can be reserved by contacting Michael Foor-Pessin. Don’t wait too long because we anticipate strong demand, and the forty copies of both books will be gone quickly.

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