First Allies Living History Group earns volunteer award


ROME, N.Y. - Debbie Conway, superintendent of Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, presented the Oneida Indian Nation;s First Allies Living History Group with a President's Volunteer Service Award for the group's work at the fort and other National Park Service and historic sites over the past five years.

The award is given to individuals and groups who have logged at least 4,000 hours of volunteer time; the First Allies group has put in more than 11,000 volunteer hours since 2002. OIN Representative Ray Halbritter, who accepted the award, said the First Allies group is an essential part of the nation's efforts to educate others about Oneida history and culture.

''A big part of what we do is to ensure an accurate portrayal of who the Oneidas were and who we are today,'' Halbritter said. ''The Oneida people are tremendously proud of the role our ancestors played in the creation of this country and the sacrifices they made. This fort is a great memorial to the patriots who made those sacrifices.''

Pictured are Ron Patterson, Oneida Indian Nation of New York Wolf Clan, of First Allies; OIN Representative Ray Halbritter; and First Allies members Will Kuhl, OIN Wolf Clan; Nate George, Oneida Nation of the Thames Wolf Clan; and Kathy Kuhl, OIN Wolf Clan.

The OIN owns Four Directions Media, parent company of Indian Country Today.