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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Lazore

Accepting the 2014 USDA Native American Poster Award

Updated: Apr 2

In 2014 Brandon Lazore won the 2014 USDA Native American Poster Award. Brandon wanted to share this accomplishment with his local community. He reached out to the Onondaga Nation School to host the award ceremony. Together he was able to celebrate the accomplishment with the students of the school, local representatives, one of his mentors, and his community.

What is the USDA Native American Poster Award?

The United States Department of Agriculture’s website says “The United States government has recognized November as “Native American Heritage Month” in some fashion since President George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution in 1990. Our formal nation-to-nation relationship with tribes predates the formation of the United States dating back to the first European settlers recognizing the hundreds of distinct tribal nations.”

The story behind the poster Coming of New Generations

In 2014 Brandon Lazore created a poster called Coming of New Generations for the USDA’s theme “Our Land: Our Promise to the Next Seven Generations.” Brandon’s poster contains several layers of symbolism about how we can act as better ancestors for the next seven generations. 

On the right of the painting, viewers can see the pine tree which is a symbol of peace growing on the turtle's back. At the top of the Tree of Peace is the eagle. The turtle represents Turtle Island, which is what Haudenosaune calls North America's land mass. The eagle perched atop the tree looks far and wide to guard against danger. 

In the background, you can also see the Evergrowing tree/ Dust Fan Wampum Belt which shows the tree of peace. This wampum shares the story of when a pine tree was uprooted, and the fifty waring chiefs buried their weapons and issues to find peace in the confederacy. 

You then see a man, a woman, and a fetus representing future generations and the start of the next seven generations. The painting shares the story that we must be committed to peace amongst human beings and have reciprocity for the earth to create a world where we all can thrive now and for the next seven generations.

Awards Ceremony at Onondaga School

Representatives from the Buffalo, NY USDA office came out to the Onondaga Nation School located on the Onondaga Nation territory to present Brandon with the award. It was important for Brandon to share this experience with the children from the local school.

Students from kindergarten through sixth grade were invited for a presentation where Brandon shared the significance of his painting with students, staff, and members of the USDA. Not only did Brandon share this accomplishment with the students, but with a mentor and faithkeeper  Oren Lyons. Oren is one of Brandon’s artistic influences and it was a privilege to have him present as he accepted the award.  

Brandon received several copies at the ceremony that he distributed locally to various organizations. The USDA also sent out hundreds of copies of the image to offices and organizations around the United States. Winning this award was a big honor that Brandon shared with the next generation, his community, mentors, and family. 

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