Oneida Indian Nation Donates $1M to Mohawk Valley Health System Foundation

Oneida MVHS Wynn Hospital donation
L-R: Anthony J. Picente Jr.; Ray Halbritter; Darlene Stromstad; Chuck Fougnier; and Larry Gilroy.

UTICA, NY – The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) Foundation announced that the Oneida Indian Nation has made a $1 million donation in support of the new Wynn Hospital in Downtown Utica. MVHS President/CEO Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, was joined by Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Oneida Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., and Larry Gilroy, Wynn Hospital Capital Campaign Co-Chair, to announce the donation at the Wynn Hospital site.

It was important to MVHS that, as part of the Oneida Indian Nation’s donation, there would be the commission of two pieces of art that will honor the shared history of the Oneida people and the region. A bronze sculpture created by artist Edward Hlavka called “Allies in War, Partners in Peace” will be located outside the hospital’s entrance. The monument at Wynn Hospital will only be the second “Allies in War, Partners in Peace” ever created – the original is located at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. The original sculpture is a 20-ft. bronze embodiment of the friendship that was forged between the Oneida Indian Nation and the United States during the Revolutionary War. It depicts George Washington, Oneida Indian Chief Shenendoah and Polly Cooper, an Oneida woman who traveled hundreds of miles to feed General Washington and his troops. All three individuals were critical in establishing the partnership between the Oneidas and the United States and defining a pivotal moment in history and Central New York’s role in the founding of the country.

The second piece of art the Oneida Indian Nation will commission at the Wynn Hospital is a mural that will honor the shared history and longtime partnership between Upstate New York and the Oneida Indian Nation. The mural will be prominently featured on the Central Utility Plant located on Columbia Street adjacent to the hospital and will be visible to those looking out of the south side of the hospital, as well as passerby traffic on one of Utica’s most historic streets.

“As we embark on the largest evolution of Turning Stone in two decades and the exponential growth simultaneously occurring throughout the region, it is more important than ever to support community resources like the Wynn Hospital,” said Halbritter. “This world-class health facility will not only meet the needs of residents and our employees today, but of those who will choose to build lives here as the transformation of the region continues in the years ahead.”

“The Oneida Indian Nation’s legacy of collaboration dates back to the very founding of our country,” said MVHS President/CEO Darlene Stromstad. “We are grateful to the Oneida Indian Nation for their support and look forward to honoring their history of contributions to the region through the commission of cultural elements that tell the story of our shared history so it will never be forgotten.”

“With its donation to the MVHS Foundation in support of Wynn Hospital, the Oneida Indian Nation is building on its legacy as Oneida County’s most steadfast ally,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. “The Oneida Indian Nation’s support will help set a new standard for healthcare facilities in our region and contribute to ensuring the best, most cutting-edge care for all who live and work here.”

The Wynn Hospital is scheduled to open in October 2023 and will be the flagship of the new healthcare campus in Downtown Utica.