The New York State Thruway stretches nearly 500 miles taking you from the Big Apple to the State Capital and eventually to Pennsylvania. Along the way you will see everything from mountains to cities and farmland. You might even see some surprises as well, like teepees.

If you have traveled the Thruway near Westmoreland and Rome recently you are sure to have noticed a display of teepees on the side of the road. Pass by at night and you can't miss the colored glow of each dwelling. So, what's the deal with the teepees?

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This is the 'Passage of Peace', a cultural art installation created by the Oneida Indian Nation. This colorful display of illuminated teepees hopes to draw attention to the generational harm inflicted on Native people across the country by Indian boarding schools.

The Passage of Peace allows us to share a message of peace with all who visit our ancestral homelands while raising awareness about important issues like the long-lasting negative impact of boarding schools on Native people. We hope that the Passage of Peace will help raise awareness about this tragic history. - Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative.

In addition to the ten teepees on display there is a thirty-foot white pine tree illuminated in white. This tree symbolizes the Great White Pine, a symbol of peace and unity among the Oneida people. The passage of Peace will remain lit through the holiday season.

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