Memories of drinking from the Spring

This Saturday was a gorgeous official first day of summer to work on the Cold Spring. We had the City Parks tools waiting for us after a short hiatus and after the heavy rains, the drains once again needed to be cleared out.

While we were digging out the mud two individuals came by to observe our work one gentleman who was accomapied by his son, recalled in his youth in the 1960s that he would specifically visit Hill Park to drink directly from the spring in the warm days. He wondered if anyone thought of the idea to bottle the water and perhaps from the profits would be able to maintain the upkeep of the spring.

Shortly after the first visitor we had a second gentleman stop by with his wife and fondly spoke about his encounter with the refreshing Cold Spring.

As we began to remove rocks it was apparent the spring desperately wanted to flow freely.



Shorakapok Mobile Indigenous Library

What a great day at the farmers market in Inwood, NYC. The FM is located at Isham St. b/w Seaman Ave. and Park Terrace West. The Shorakapok Mobile Indigenous Library (SMIL) seeks to educate the public at a grassroots level. Being in the sidewalk allows me to share with the public the importance of indigenous history right next to Inwood Hill Park. It was great meeting new people and talking to old contacts and friends. The SMIL also seeks to look for new volunteers for ongoing projects in the parks and the community. Today I met a fellow Caribbean woman who happen to share with her children that they are indigenous! It was great seeing the children smile and browse through the books. This is the mission of the Shorakapok Earth Keepers. The mission is clear. It is about empowering people to learn about their indigenous heritage and also provide a space for indigenous peoples to share their culture with the public; namely, in the parks and community spaces. SEK is in theearly stages of development. We need courageous indigenous peoples and allies to make a commitment to the mother earth and all living beings to maintain a sustainable future for the 7th generation.

Cold Hollow Spring: Revival with the youth

Though it may have been a sweltering Saturday morning we still had our dedicated volunteers Dana and newly initiated youth members; Lisa and her partner Jose working on the Cold Hollow Spring

We have since uncovered the second drain thanks to the help from the Shorakapok Choir and others.

If you would like to contribute please email:

See you soon!



Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues United Nations Headquarters, New York City, 20-31 May 2013



SEK would like to personally thank Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, Ambassador of Goodwill to Africa and the Community Mayor of Harlem and the New Future Foundation for making it possible for three members to attend the Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues , which began this past Monday through May 31st.
We have been humble beyond words to take part in such a powerful and positive gathering of indigenous peoples from around the world. To be in the presence of Chiefs, Queens, community organizers, mothers, and the youth has been eye opening.


Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

United Nations Headquarters, New York City, 20-31 May 2013

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.

Twelfth Session of the Permanent Forum

20 – 31 May 2013
Trusteeship Council Chamber
Conference Building
UN Headquarters, New York
Review Year
>>>Click here for more information 

>>>Information for Participation

City Parks NYC: Write up of Inwood Hill Park

City of New York, Parks & RecreationMichael R. Bloomberg, MayorVeronica M. White, Commissioner



Inwood Hill Park

Inwood Hill Park

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Inwood Hill Park contains the last natural forest and salt marsh in Manhattan. It is unclear how the park received its present name. Before becoming parkland in 1916, it was known during the Colonial and post-Revolutionary War period as Cock or Cox Hill. The name could be a variant of the Native American name for the area, Shorakapok, meaning either “the wading place,” “the edge of the river,” or “the place between the ridges.”

Human activity has been present in Inwood Hill Park from prehistoric times. Through the 17th century, Native Americans known as the Lenape (Delawares) inhabited the area. There is evidence of a main encampment along the eastern edge of the park. The Lenape relied on both the Hudson and Harlem Rivers as sources for food. Artifacts and the remains of old campfires were found in Inwood’s rock shelters, suggesting their use for shelter and temporary living quarters.

In 1954 the Peter Minuit Post of the American Legion dedicated a plaque at the southwest corner of the ballfield (at 214th Street) to mark the location of a historic tree and a legendary real estate transaction. A living link with the local Indians who resided in the area, a magnificent tulip tree stood and grew on that site for 280 years until its death in 1938. The marker also honors Peter Minuit’s reputed purchase of Manhattan from the Lenape in 1626. The celebrated sale has also been linked to sites in Lower Manhattan.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, colonists from Europe settled and farmed here. During the Revolutionary War, American forces built a five-sided earthwork fort (known as Fort Cock or Fort Cox) in the northwestern corner of the park. It fell to British and Hessian troops in November 1776 and was held until the war ended in 1783. After the Revolutionary War, families returned to the area to resume farming.

In the 1800s much of present-day Inwood Hill Park contained country homes and philanthropic institutions. There was a charity house for women, and a free public library (later the Dyckman Institute) was formed. The Straus family (who owned Macy’s) enjoyed a country estate in Inwood; its foundation is still present. Isidor and Ida Straus lost their lives on the S.S. Titanic’s maiden voyage. When the Department of Parks bought land for the park in 1916, the salt marsh was saved and landscaped; a portion of the marsh was later landfilled. The buildings on the property were demolished. During the Depression the City employed WPA workers to build many of the roads and trails of Inwood Hill Park.

In 1992 Council Member Stanley E. Michels introduced legislation, which was enacted, to name the natural areas of Inwood Hill Park “Shorakapok” in honor of the Lenape who once resided here. In 1995 the Inwood Hill Park Urban Ecology Center was opened. It provides information to the public about the natural and cultural history of this beautiful park. Today the Urban Park Rangers work with school children on restoration projects to improve the health and appearance of the park. Complementing the work of the Rangers is that of dozens of Inwood “Vols” (Volunteers), who assist with park restoration and beautification.