The grand opening of the area’s only indoor archery range, Warrior Archery – Shukwatli:yo:se’ makes archery instruction available for youth and adults at Oneida Heritage Sales & Rental in partnership with the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley.

Oneida Nation Representative and Oneida Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter congratulated Oneida Nation Council Member Dale Rood (Turtle Clan), Ron Patterson (Wolf Clan) and the entire team at Oneida Heritage for their “careful planning, organization and devotion” to opening the 12-lane archery range, the only indoor facility in the area.

“Today the vision to preserve our culture continues as we bring the Native tradition of archery to the community as we celebrate the latest addition to Oneida Heritage – Warrior Archery,” Halbritter said. “Through a partnership with the YMCA of the Greater Tri Valley area we are able to offer archery instruction for the youth and adults of our community.”

In a great show of community support for the latest debut at Oneida Heritage the Mayor of Sherrill William Vineall and representatives of the City of Oneida Parks & Recreation, the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of America, 4-H and the YMCA came out to help cut the ribbon for the official grand opening of Warrior Archery.

Rood also addressed and welcomed the community members in attendance. “It’s a pleasure to be involved with opening up something that is so historic to the Oneida People. The bow and the arrow is something that has been handed down for hundreds, if not thousands of years, in our culture and it’s something that we are going to be able to offer here to the community,” he said.

An important part of this community are the members of the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley area, who will now be able to participate in archery classes at Oneida Heritage’s new indoor archery range. Members of the YMCA had been expressing interest in the sport, again gaining popularity, but the facility did not have the room to accommodate the necessary set up. Now, with the Oneida Heritage’s new indoor archery range, the YMCA will be able to offer classes to its nearly 10,000 members in Central New York.

Manager of Oneida Heritage and Warrior Archery Ron Patterson said the key to the success of the indoor range is going to be the cooperation with the community and local organizations. “Behind me is going to be our partnerships with the Y, the Girl Scouts and various youth organizations. We want to make sure this is grass roots because that’s where it begins. We can grow this program into a well-known archery system. We could reach the levels of the Olympics or even our Native American Games in archery, but it’s a great opportunity for our people, not only our Nation Members, but our community in general.”

A recent interest survey conducted through the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley concluded that 60 of their members were interested in taking archery classes, said Hank Leo, CEO of the local YMCA chapter. “When we got those back we were a little surprised at the range. There were 5-year-olds and 95-year-olds that were interested in coming in and shooting and joining leagues, but of course there is nowhere to shoot really between Syracuse and Utica, so to have a resource like this right here in our community in Sherrill is quite an opportunity to all of the people that live here. I am really looking forward to the bow making and arrow making classes. There is so much talent surrounding this effort.”

A little more than a year ago Oneida Heritage opened its doors in Sherrill to showcase the Oneida Nation story and culture. In line with that vision, the team has worked diligently to open Warrior Archery, to demonstrate yet another facet of Native America history, as well as create more opportunities for community partnerships.

Warrior Archery is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information visit www.warriorsarchery.com or call (315) 363-1735.