Date: Sat, 16 Oct 2010 08:31:57 -0400
Subject:Jake Swamp obituary
Jake Swamp-Tekaronianeken, 69, the Wolf Clan Mohawk diplomat, author, teacher,
chief, husband, father, grandparent and great-grandparent passed into the spirit
world on October 14, 2010 at his home on the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory.
Swamp was one of the most respected and honoured Mohawk Iroquois leaders of the
past century. He was a member of the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs for over
three decades, a position in which he served as a counselor, spiritual leader,
legislator and ambassador. He was an exceptional orator with a powerful command
of the Mohawk language. He possessed great knowledge as to the cultural
heritage of the Haudenosaunee and shared that wisdom not only with his people
but at forums, conferences and classes across the planet. He was known not only
for his knowledge but for his teaching skills which were defined by his unique
sense of humour.
When Skennenrahowi (the Peacemaker) established the Haudenosaunee Confederacy
800 years ago he set standards for leadership which were embodied in
Tekaronianeken. He was patient, compassionate, humble, generous, intelligent and
kind. Whenever he was called upon to serve the needs of the Haudenosaunee he
did so without hesitation. He established the Tree of Peace Society in 1984 to
promote the teachings of the Skennenrahowi while advocating greater ecological
awareness and sensitivity. Swamp planted hundreds of Peace Trees in many
nations, an activity begun with the founding of the Confederacy. Through his
example millions of trees have taken root around the world from Israel to
Australia, Venezuela to Spain and in all regions of North America.
Jake Swamp was a founder of the Akwesasne Freedom School in 1979 and helped
develop a curriclum which was based on the traditional values of the
Haudenosaunee. He managed Radio CKON at Akwesasne and not only oversaw its
Native based programming but helped secure its status as the only Native
licensed broadcast facility in the Americas.
Swamp served as Mohawk Nation diplomat in many instances. He addressed the
Fourth Russell Tribunal in the Netherlands, was a delegate to the United
Nations, met with leaders of foreign nations and advised representatives from
the US Congress and Canadian Parliament. He worked closely with Dr. Greg Schaaf
to have the US Senate pass a resolution acknowledging the influence of the
Haudenosaunee on the US Constitution and thereby initiated a revolution in the
understanding of American history. He was a delegate to two sessions of the
World Parliament of Religions where he was affectionately called "el jeffe".
As a member of the Mohawk Nation Tekaronianeken took an active role in
preserving the ceremonial activities of the longhouse people. At each one of
the rituals he rose from his seat as a Wolf Clan leader to address the people,
with the beauty of his words calling their attention to those rituals which
express the nation's collective gratitude to the natural world for the blessings
of life. He presented infants to the people, gave advice to newlyweds and spoke
words of condolence to those who suffered the loss of their loved ones.
There is another requirement for leadership set by Skennenrahowi, perhaps the
most important of all. Before one can become a leader that person has to have
the love and support of their family and must in turn love them; peace in the
home brought about clarity in council. Tekaronianeken was a devoted family man,
married to Judy Point Swamp for 49 years. Theirs was a solid and stable union
defined by mutual respect, admiration and a quiet yet powerful affection. Jake
was a highly skilled ironworker, he was one of the legendary Mohawk
"skywalkers", travelling great distances to provide for his wife and children.
This determination to insure his family's health and security was a legacy of hs
parents, the late Leo and Charlotte Papineau Swamp. Jake was the second child of
fourteen, in a family raised to be self reliant,hardworking and creative. He is
leaving behind seven children, twenty three grandchildren, and thirteen great
grandchildren, many of whom are now assuming their own leadership roles within
the Nation. He was a devoted lacrosse fan and an avid gardener and was rightly
proud of the athletic skills of his family.
it is taught by the Haudenosaunee that whatever one does in life it is essential
to leave things better than when they were found, to take into consideration the
effect of one's actions on the seventh generation into the future. Throughout
his wonderful life Tekaronianeken abided by this principle. Through his
books,his words and his actions he brought great honour to his family, his
community, the Mohawk Nation and the Haudenosaunee.
Services for Tekaronianeken will begin at the Homemaker's Building, River Road,
Snye District of Akwesasne on October 16 with the funeral at the Mohawk Nation
longhouse at 10 AM, Monday,October 18.
Flowers and other support may be sent to the Swamp family: Box 326, Cook Road,
Akwesasne, NY 13655.
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