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Henry Lickers

Dare to be Great

In collaboration with

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Story by Dr. Leigh McGaughey
Photos by Stephany Hildebrand

Henry is six feet tall but his height belies his weighty presence. A man rooted firmly in his Haudenosaunee culture, he holds the great gift of connecting cultures.

I first met Henry in 2018, in the early days of the great river rapport project. Originally from South Africa, I was a newcomer to the region and though my experience in aquatic ecology and ecosystem indicators prepared me to take the lead on this health report, my local knowledge was insignificant. Henry, a Haudenosaunee citizen of the Seneca Nation, Turtle Clan, took the lead to jump-start my education in Indigenous teachings.

Early talks with him expanded my knowledge base as he spoke passionately about the Great Law of Peace (the oral law of the Iroquois Confederacy), the principle of seven generations (the philosophy that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future), and the broader environmental philosophies of his people. As time went on, he also shared tales of time spent in New Zealand doing his graduate studies and experiences of his more than three decades of work with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, first as a Director.

Henry is six feet tall but his height belies his weighty presence. A man rooted firmly in his Haudenosaunee culture, he holds the great gift of connecting cultures.

I first met Henry in 2018, in the early days of the great river rapport project. Originally from south africa, I was a newcomer to the region and though my experience in aquatic ecology and ecosystem indicators prepared me to take the lead on this health report, my local knowledge was insignificant. Henry, a Haudenosaunee citizen of the Seneca Nation, Turtle Clan, took the lead to jump-start my education in Indigenous teachings.

Early talks with him expanded my knowledge base as he spoke passionately about the Great Law of Peace (the oral law of the Iroquois Confederacy), the principle of seven generations (the philosophy that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future), and the broader environmental philosophies of his people. As time went on, he also shared tales of time spent in New Zealand doing his graduate studies and experiences of his more than three decades of work with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, first as a Director.

While growing up on the Six Nation Indian Reserve near Brantford, Ontario, Henry’s mother set out a credo to those around her, including her young son: “Dare to be great.” Without a doubt, Henry is living up to the test.

In collaboration with

Perch Magazine - Logo

Story by Dr. Leigh McGaughey
Photos by Stephany Hildebrand

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