The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is extending a big congratulations out to Eddie Gray who retired on June 15th from the MCA Traditional Medicines Program. Eddie has been with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne since 1997 and everyone in the organization is thankful for the invaluable knowledge that he has shared with the community.
Eddie was taught at an early age to survive off the land and all the natural surroundings that Mother Earth has provided to him. He was taught by the elders of this community to learn how to identify and harvest the natural medicines. During this lifetime learning process, Eddie was able to study the purpose of each individual plant and apply his teaching abilities to other interested community members. During the harvesting season, Eddie always had time to lend a helping hand to assist his elders in crop harvesting and medicine picking. This is his way of life. Eventually, the community came to rely on him for his expertise in medicines and traditional ceremonies.
Eddie would conduct sweatlodges and fasting camps for Akwesasronon, along with hosting medicine walks. Workshops and presentations were provided to youth within the local schools districts to display his medicines. By doing so, he would promote self-identity through his traditional teachings and providing the younger generations the opportunity to learn about natural medicines.
Eddie sits with the Traditional Council of Chiefs within the Iroquois Confederacy representing the Turtle Clan for approximately 35 years. Some of his governance involvement has been with the settlement of land claims, treaty negotiations, land disputes, development of policies and procedures, and attending United Nation meetings. For the spiritual aspect of his duties, Eddie ensures that all ceremonies are being conducted as it was originally instructed. In addition to this, he provides the medicine necessary for ceremonial purposes, provides spiritual guidance to his people and to the surrounding First Nation communities.
Tsi Snaihne District Chief Tobi Mitchell, who sits on the Health Portfolio said “I’d like to thank Eddie for all of his years of dedication to the health and well being of our community members. I’d also like to wish him well on his next chapter in life. Niawenhko:wa Eddie.”
Grand Chief Abram Benedict added, “We want to express our gratitude to Eddie who has helped community members and people from across turtle island. Although we will miss having you here in our organization, we wish you nothing but the best in your next chapter. On behalf of council, I wish you a wonderful retirement spent with lots of family, love and relaxation.”
Congratulations Eddie—we hope you enjoy your retirement!