Salamanca City Central School District

Native American Curriculum and Resource Hub

Nya:wëh Sgë:nö’

(I am thankful you are well)


Graphic Created By: Bill Crouse (Seneca, Hawk Clan)

Image Description: The Edge of the Woods ceremony was established by the Onödowa’ga:’ (Seneca) and Hodinöhšö:ni:h (People of the Longhouse/Iroquois), used in condolence and as a welcoming for individuals and groups who were not of the Confederacy to their territories. Individuals were guided into the community and met with a gathering where a speaker would express gratitude for the visitors arriving safely, acknowledge the burdens of the journey, and extend words of condolence for any loss or suffering. Visitors would then experience the Edge of the Woods ceremony intended to prepare and restore their minds. A cleansing would occur through wiping away the tears and dust from their eyes so that they could see and think clearly, an unplugging of their ears so that they were prepared to received messages and they would be given water to quench their thirst and clearing the throat so that they are able to speak clearly and share ideas. Today, the Edge of the Woods continues to be used in the Condolence ceremony to help those who are mourning after the loss or passing of a leader, as well as when leaders within the Confederacy are being "raised up." The Native American Curriculum Team's intention behind using this ceremony's concept is to help educators achieve the knowledge, confidence, and motivation to incorporate and develop authentic and relevant Native American curriculum into mainstream curriculum. The concept behind this is that through ongoing self-reflection, professional development, gathering of resources, and the inclusion of local indigenous community members, educators will metaphorically make their way through the Edge of the Woods ceremony. As educators progress in their knowledge base and comfort level they will make their way through each of the levels, first being welcomed in to receive information and knowledge considered the "edge of the woods." Next they will progress "within the clearing" where their comfort level grows, they are actively working to integrate Native American curriculum and are furthering their knowledge base. Lastly, our hope is that all of our educators will become allies when speaking about and teaching Native American curriculum. At this level they will be "gathered around the fire" alongside Indigenous community members sharing thoughts and ideas as equals with the same vision, mission, and goals for Native American curriculum in mainstream education.


All New York State K-12 students will have a holistic understanding of the indigenous experience using Onöndowa’ga:’ (Seneca) /Hodinöhšö:ni:h (Iroquois) language, history, and culture as examples.


NACT will collaborate with allied stakeholders to identify resources, develop standards and interdisciplinary curriculum, and integrate them into existing school district coursework to overcome common misperceptions and historically inaccurate portrayals of indigenous peoples.

Disclaimer: The Native American Curriculum Team highly suggests when using the Salamanca City Central School District's Native American Curriculum Resource Hub, incorporating the inclusion and involvement of the local indigenous community in the design and development of Native American curriculum within your program and/or district. Beyond the moral implications, there are practical and academic reasons for preserving the culture, history, and language. For further consultation, please contact our team via email