The Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources Inc

Sacred Sites issues Ulster Ridge

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The Ulster Manor Site in Immediate Peril

Dear People ,
The challenge to preserve Ulster Manor site continues. This pristine sacred site, overlooking the Hudson is slated for a massive condo subdivision without proper review.
We have made several interventions and another planning board meeting is planned in March. This site as well as the entire sacred ridge overlooking the Hudson is part of an important Sacred Site for all of us.
We need your help. Please lend your support however you can. Use your creativity and networks. We need political support, coalition building and media. Any leads are appreciated.
        There has been an important archaeological find in a Town of Ulster site.  First reported on by William Richie for the NY State Museum in 1952, it was called The Kingston Site. Richie reported that two burials were found on that site dating to the Woodland Period.  Now called The Manor Site it is slated to be destroyed for development.
         Recently excavated by archaeologist Adam Luscier for Hartgen Associates as part of the State Environmental Quality Review Act,  Luscier's final report states (underlines are mine):

"The Manor Site is, in fact, the rediscovery of part of the Kingston Site 1...It is rare to find archeological sites that have never been plowed...The Manor Quarry Site possibly contains evidence of a method used by precontact groups for exploiting raw lithic material that is yet unexplored archeologically...the coexistence of well defined components of daily precontact life at the same site is rare and demonstrates the importance of the Manor Site as an archeological resource.  The integrity of the deposit was considered excellent, and this was clearly a significant precontact site and a national Register-eligible archeological resource."

         Some of us have felt moved to action in defense of this extraordinary, irreplaceable site and have been working to find a way to preserve it, and if not, at least allow it to be further studied for the sake of our history before it is destroyed..

         There is to be a Town of Ulster Planning Board Meeting in March, at 7pm at the Town of Ulster Town Hall, located on Route 209 near Fred's Place Restaurant and opposite the entrance to Enterprise Road.  (turn Left on Enterpise Road , cross bridge over 209 and when you come to the end of the road, turn Left again to enter the Town Hall parking lot).  All of you who wish to support the preservation of this land, please come.

For more information-- including Adam Luscier's report for Hartgen-- go to  Look under "Economic Development." You can also access two recent newspaper articles here:

Please pass this letter on to people you feel would be interested.  Thanks.

Mid Hudson Valley United Religions Initiative

Preservation of Ancient Sacred Spaces

Re Ulster Ridge Preservation

Statement to Town of Ulster Planning BoardRe Ulster ManorSubmitted by Reverend Betsy Stang on behalf of the traditional Annishinabe peoplesand the Mid Hudson Valley United Religions Initiative  The American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 requires federal agencies to respect the customs, ceremonies, and traditions of Native American religions.  NATIVE AMERICAN RELIGION.--The term "Native American religion"
means any religion--
(A) which is practiced by Native Americans, and
(B) the origin and interpretation of which is from within a
traditional Native American culture or community.

(12) NATIVE AMERICAN RELIGIOUS SITE.--The term "Native American
religious site" means any place or area, including, but not limited to,
any geophysical or geographical area or feature--
(A) which is sacred to a Native American religion;
(B) where Native American practitioners are required by their religion
to gather, harvest, or maintain natural substances or natural products
for use in Native American religious ceremonies or rituals or for
spiritual purposes, including all places or areas where such natural
substances or products are located; or
(C) which is utilized by Native American religious practitioners for
ceremonies, rituals, or other spiritual practices.

traditional leader" means any Native American who--
(A) is recognized by an Indian tribe, Native Hawaiian organization, or
Native American traditional organization as being responsible for
performing cultural duties relating to the ceremonial or religious
traditions of the tribe or traditional organization, or
(B) exercises a leadership role in an Indian tribe, Native Hawaiian
organization or Native American traditional organization based upon its
cultural, ceremonial, or religious practices.
 Under this law, I am authorized to ask, under the full authority of Grandfather William Commanda, the Keeper of the Sacred Wampum Belts and recognized spiritual leader of the Annishinabe ( Algonquin) Peoples ( which include 84 recognized nations) for a cease and desist order on this project of Ulster Manor until a full and open review can be made of the status of this unique Sacred Site. We further support a full review by Sherry White, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of Mohegan/Stockbridge Muncie Nation of Wisconsin. We assert that until a full review is completed, no lead agency approval can be granted.. Additionally, the diverse faith traditions of the Mid Hudson Valley Untied Religions Initiative supports this statement on the grounds that, for the sake of an individual's short term profit, we are potentially desecrating a sacred site that we do not fully understand, and that this desecration could adversely impact all residents and descendents of this region, and creating environment impacts of the Hudson River and tributaries that could have far reaching adverse financial impacts on the town and the entire region. This statement is submitted on behalf of all our children. Submitted by Reverend Betsy Stang, Executive Director, The Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources Inc   

An Elder’s Prayer for Peace

Respecting the Sacred in the Land

Inherent in the prayer of the Indigenous Nations of Turtle Island is the deep knowledge that we are all connected –my people in the east say GINAWAYDAGANUC. The prayer is a celebration of the profound knowledge that we are connected with the each other, as well as with the chief elements–Mother Earth, Water, Air and Fire–the animate and inanimate, the plants and animals and the larger universe, connected energetically.

Spirit embraces and unifies us all.

Inherent in the prayer is a deep respect for both Mother Earth, the penultimate provider and nurturer, and all her children. The prayer is a constant reminder to honor this connectedness, and walk gently in the places of our differences, for those are the places of co-creation.

But across the globe, our relationship with Mother Earth and each other has been disrupted, and storms and blood despoil our world. When the new peoples arrived in this continent, they were too often motivated by greed, the realities of the day were war and genocide, and the ramifications were environmental exploitation and destruction; my ancestors were nearly all destroyed.

We are now all feeling the impact of the environmental crisis that has resulted from the reckless exploitation of land, water and air, in escalating climate change; lands and peoples across the world are embroiled in desperate wars; and health is a primary concern across the world, no matter how privileged we might seem to be, for life itself is under attack.

Today, the Law of Nature is revealing herself as the great equalizer on all planes, with ominous implications for us all and for future generations.

Our ancestors always knew that all things were connected, and our ancient prophecies told them that one day, all the world would one day come to us to learn this. I have been the Carrier of the ancient sacred Seven Fires Prophecy Wampum Belt for almost 40 years. This prophecy, known to many peoples across the world, told of the important choices we would have to make at the time of the Seventh Fire, choices regarding our relationship with Mother Earth and each other, and that time is upon us. We have to choose wisely to ensure a meaningful heritage for all humanity and life forms.

A global shift in our value base is essential. We need to move from greed and corporate domination to generosity and sharing; from fear and war to racial harmony and peace building; and from relentless environmental exploitation to the three indigenous Rs–respect, responsibility and reverence for Mother Earth.

We need to inspire people across the world to embrace these values urgently. This is the great challenge of our times–this is what the Seven Fires Prophecy warned about. It is the task for which we have to strengthen ourselves collectively. The transformation comes from within first; then, recognizing that we are all connected, we reach out to transform our brothers and sisters and leaders. We strive to humanize institutions. I hold a vision for an Indigenous Centre where we can all come together to animate this future. (

When we come together with one heart, one love, one mind and one determination, and breath our prayers and energy into the International Day of Peace, we will be creating the pathway to a Circle of All Nations, a Culture of Peace.

I attach my prayer for peace upon the commencement of the International Decade for a Culture of Peace for your consideration. I continue to pray for its realization. –Megwetch

Grandfather William Commanda, a 96-year-old Algonquin Elder, is the carrier of the Sacred Seven Fires Prophecy Wampum Belt and founder of A Circle of All Nations. He is a spiritual leader of the Annishinabe peoples who at one time included the Esopus and Lenape, and historian for his peoples. His great Grandfather used to come from Ottowa to Kingston for ceremonies and trade.

Please help join the coalition to preserve these sites hoowever you can. For more information email