TAUNY, Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, has invited the public to a presentation of Skydancer, a film about the Mohawk iron-workers who regularly commute from Akwesasne to New York City to work on the “high steel,” building the skyscrapers of Manhattan.
This 2011 film by Academy Award-nominated director Katja Esson follows iron-workers Jerry McDonald Thundercloud and Sky Fox as they shuttle between the hard drinking Brooklyn lodging houses they call home during the week and their family lives, a grueling drive six hours north back home to Akwesasne, NY, on the weekends. Through archival documents and interviews, it also explores the broader history of the Mohawk skywalkers, presenting the nuanced and visually stunning stories of these renowned men who, over six generations, have been traveling to New York City to work on some of the biggest construction jobs in the world.
The program will take place on Saturday, October 14 from 7 to 9 pm at The TAUNY Center. The showing will be followed by a Q&A with guests Sky and Bear Fox, who are featured in the film. Light refreshments will be served. There is a $5 suggested donation for this program.
While the film focuses on more recent work on construction projects in the city, it also helps shed light on an important aspect of the work that went into shaping the Raquette River as we now know it.
In the oral histories conducted for TAUNY’s current exhibit, “‘Look Down, You’ll See Our Tracks’: Raquette River Dam Stories,” many spoke of the skill and courage of the Mohawk ironworkers who helped construct the dams and powerhouses. Though few of the Mohawk ironworkers involved in the 1950s power project around Colton are living today, many of those who worked on the Raquette River facilities also did the high steel work featured in this film, and for many families this type of work comes down through multiple generations. Along with illuminating the accomplishments of these ironworkers, the film provides a framework for exploring questions about the variety of experiences and cultural perspectives that play into the story of the Raquette River power project.
The TAUNY Center is located at 53 Main Street, Downtown Canton, NY. For more information, visit their website.