The Oneida Indian Nation’s Oneida Heritage Center recently announced a partnership with the Oneida Family YMCA to provide archery instruction for all ages and ability levels at the center’s 12-lane indoor range known as Warrior Archery. The first series of group and individual programs started on January 17 and will continue through March 3. Classes are taught by Ron Patterson (Wolf Clan) and Alex Dickerman (Turtle Clan).

The unique partnership gives the local community the opportunity to learn the history of traditional archery and its impact on American Indian culture while also learning the timeless skill. Both Ron and Alex are USA-Certified archery instructors, and Alex will soon receive his pro shop technician certification. Archery continues to grow in popularity all across the country and Oneida Heritage hopes to build off that momentum in the Central New York region.

The Oneida Family Y, which is part of the Greater Tri-Valley organization, recently presented its “Community Partner of the Year” award to Oneida Heritage with a special dinner held at the Delta Lake Inn. The Oneida Family Y annually selects a “Community Partner of the Year” and honors recipients with a commemorative certificate that underscores the organization’s commitment to the community.

Oneida Nation Council Member Dale Rood (Turtle Clan) was thrilled to partner with the Oneida Family YMCA and is excited to expand the outreach of Oneida Heritage. “Being awarded community partner of the year is the culmination of a lot of hard work,” he said. “Ron, Alex and I wanted to find ways to get the community here, especially kids, and archery was a perfect fit.”

Oneida Nation Turtle Clan Council Member Dale Rood.

Ron is excited to see support for innovative collaborations and partnerships growing in the community. “As an organization of more than 9,000 members, the award from the YMCA carries the honor and respect of entire the community,” he said. “It’s an honor that they’ve recognized us for what we’ve done.”

“I have seen first-hand what archery can do for kids – and adults – in the form of competition, fun and self-esteem building,” said Hank Leo, CEO of the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley. “The archery community is a very giving one. I’ve had the opportunity to connect with US Olympic pros, and people from all over the country on our programming goals. I cannot thank Oneida Heritage enough for opening their doors to Y programming, especially through this program. We hope it leads to lessons, tournaments, and much more.”

Hank also said the Oneida Family YMCA is participating as a collaborator with the Northeastern Archery Academy’s Winter Cam Classic at Turning Stone Resort Casino that takes place March 2-4. The Oneida Indian Nation and Oneida Heritage are among several sponsors of the event and it will share exhibit space at the event with the Y.

The competition is slated to draw up to 1,000 archers from all over the world and competitors will be able to practice at Oneida Heritage before their scheduled shooting times. Shuttles will bring archers to and from Oneida Heritage and the Resort.

The community’s excitement for the new facility is exhilarating for the entire staff of the Sherrill heritage center. Dale and Ron have also talked with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H organizations about offering programs to get kids more active in the sport, and learn about its history and tradition.

Oneida Heritage hopes to further partnerships not only with community organizations, but also local area schools as well. Dale and Ron will soon welcome the Superintendent and Principal of Vernon Verona Sherrill High School to Warrior Archery for a tour of the facility with hopes to offer a new physical education option for students.

The next big event upcoming at Oneida Heritage will be a collaborative tournament scheduled for February 17 that is open to the YMCA members and the Oneida City Recreation Department. More details about this event will be released soon.