Last updated: April 03. 2014 5:13PM - 1005 Views

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On Friday, the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail will be the site of a special Native American ceremony to bless the trail and the 2,800 individuals who will be traversing it during the Inaugural Scranton Half Marathon.

Chief Jake Edwards and other members of the Seneca Nation will travel from Onondaga, New York, to consecrate the trail at 2 p.m.. The blessing will take place two miles south of the Elm St. trailhead at the site of a large sculpture of a Native American Chief.

The Half Marathon will begin at the Scranton Memorial Stadium on Sunday, April 6 at 9 a.m., traveling through several Scranton neighborhoods and through the downtown business district into South Scranton, completing the last 6.1 miles on a section of the Heritage Trail. Runners will enter the trail at Elm St., running south past the Trail Amphitheatre, circling back on a spur of the trail where the sculpture is located. All runners will pass the Chief and other carvings and artifacts created by artist Tom Austin in 2013 that represent the region’s Native American heritage.

In July 2013, members of the Seneca Nation participated in the dedication of this trail section with a welcoming prayer and ritual dances. Dr. Gere Reisinger, local representative of the Seneca Nation, has served as a consultant to the Lackawanna Heritage Valley in developing interpretation of this heritage.

The Scranton Half Marathon Committee has invited Chief Edwards to bestow spiritual blessings on the trail in appreciation for the history of his people and for those who have worked so hard to organize and participate in this exciting event. Proceeds of the event will benefit the further development of the Heritage Trail.

The public is welcome to attend this consecration ceremony.

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