Tuesday, October 25, 2022

ADKX to offer virtual series of Adirondacks for All events first week of November

Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX) will offer a week-long symposium highlighting a series of free virtual Adirondacks for All events during the first week of November. These events will include roundtable discussions featuring a variety of panelists. Schedule of events: Reframing Adirondack History on Tuesday, November 1, Wilderness for All on Wednesday, November 2, and Using Policy and Preservation to Foster an Adirondacks for All on Friday, November 4.

Reframing Adirondack History: Tuesday, November 1 from 7 to 8 p.m.

This is a FREE virtual event to take place on Zoom.

The history of the Adirondacks region has long privileged accounts of Euro-American settlement: taming a wild landscape and establishing a multi-generational presence across the North Country. Within the last few decades, individuals and organizations across the Adirondacks have increasingly challenged the cultural, social, and political assumptions at the foundation of these kinds of Euro-Centric narratives. With their scholarship, filmmaking, and cultural education initiatives, these three panelists have worked to re-center the experiences of underrepresented people who have acted as forces for social, political, and cultural change in the North Country and beyond. A “reframing” wide enough to reflect this diverse population must account for the First People of this region, African Americans, immigrants, but also Adirondackers without political visibility or power. “I am large, I contain multitudes,” Whitman wrote. So does the Adirondack Park.

In this roundtable discussion, Darren Bonaparte, Amy Godine, and Paul Miller will discuss opportunities to highlight the plurality of experiences that comprise the tapestry of American and Adirondack history.

Register for the Zoom event here. 

About The Speakers:

Amy Godine, independent scholar and longtime Adirondack Life contributor, has been writing and lecturing  about Adirondack social history since 1989. Her interest has been Black and ethnic history, migratory Adirondackers, and other non-elites whose regional experience is  unacknowledged in the historical record. Exhibitions she has written or curated on ethnic diversity in the region have appeared in the Chapman Museum, Saratoga History Museum, and Adirondack Museum. Her exhibition, “Dreaming of Timbuctoo,” the story of an abolitionist-founded Black farm settlement in North Elba, is at the John Brown Farm Historic Site in Lake Placid. Next fall Cornell University Press will bring out her book, The Black Woods, a comprehensive history of this pioneering civil rights initiative before the Civil War.

Paul A. Miller is an independent writer, photographer, and filmmaker based in upstate New York. As an experienced television professional, he worked for national shows and networks including The History Channel, National Geographic Channel, PBS, and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” For years, filmmaker Paul Miller has driven past the John Brown Farm State Historic on route to family vacations.  Like many, as a young student, he had learned of abolitionist John Brown and his raid on Harpers Ferry, but he never thought about why Brown’s home is located in New York, nestled between the beautiful peaks of the Adirondack Mountains.  When Miller learned that it is connected to the establishment of a little-known and long lost antebellum African-American settlement in the mountains, he knew the story had to be told. In his feature-length documentary, “Searching For Timbuctoo,” he seeks to add some much-needed dimension to the well-known story of John Brown and his Harpers Ferry raid by revealing how a little-known Black settlement in the Adirondacks helped lay a path towards the Civil War and, as a result, changed the course of American history.

Darren Bonaparte is a cultural historian from the Akwesasne First Nation. He is a frequent lecturer at schools, universities, museums, and historical sites in the United States and Canada. Darren has written three books, several articles, and the libretto for the McGill Chamber Orchestra’s Aboriginal Visions and Voices. He currently serves as the Director of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.


Wilderness for All: Wednesday, November 2 from 7 to 8 p.m.

This is a virtual event to take place on Zoom.

Today, in order to remain relevant, we must adapt and address the challenges and obstacles that stand in the way of promoting a more diverse and inclusive environment. This is especially true of a place like the Adirondack Park. There is an increasing recognition that a host of cultural, geographic, and economic barriers continue to undercut the Park’s democratic commitment to “the free use of all the people for their health and pleasure.” If the Adirondack community wishes to provide a wide range of opportunities to all visitors– including those marginalized by physical disabilities, economic burdens, or legacies of exclusion–Park managers, stakeholders, and private sector partners could learn from individuals and organizations working at the grass-roots to open Adirondack wilderness to traditionally underrepresented groups. The panelists featured in this roundtable discussion have spent considerable time and energy bridging the access and equity gap, connecting Black and Indigenous youth, among others, with an environmental and cultural heritage that should transcend cultural, racial, and economic boundaries. Benita Law-Diao, Annie Cree, and Stephanie Morningstar will share their personal journey with the Adirondacks and discuss opportunities to move forward in a more positive direction.

Register for the Zoom event here. 

About The Speakers:

Benita Law-Diao is a NYS Licensed Public Health Nutritionist/Dietitian. She served 32 years with the NYS Department of Health. During her career she was a Public Health Nutritionist, Contract Manager, and Program Research Specialist. Throughout her life Ms. Law-Diao has held a strong passion for the environment and sustainable living. For five consecutive years, she and her co-workers rode bicycles across New York State to market the re-opening of the Erie Canal and increase public awareness of this world class recreational asset. As a past President of the Hudson-Mohawk Council and a National Board Member of Hostelling International USA, she led efforts to encourage more people of color to participate in travel and recreation. Ms. Law-Diao is the Outdoor Afro Leader for Albany and Upstate New York. She advises Eagle Island Camp in Saranac Lake. She is also a member of the Albany Riverfront Collaborative and works to forge robust civic partnerships necessary to nurture a river-connected and sustaining community with a vibrant and interdependent economy, culture and landscape. As a Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County Master Gardener, she works with the community on a variety of sustainable agriculture and beautification projects. In May 2022, Ms. Law-Diao was appointed to the Adirondack Park Agency, the first African-American to serve on the board.

Stephanie Morningstar is Mohawk, Oneida, and mixed European descent. She is an herbalist, soil and seed steward, scholar, student, and Earth Worker dedicated to decolonizing and liberating minds, hearts, and land- one plant, person, ecosystem, and non-human being at a time. Stephanie is the Executive Director of the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust, an organization dedicated to advancing land access for BIPOC land stewards of color. Stephanie tends medicines at Sky World Apothecary & Farm; and teaches about the wonders of plant medicine at Seed, Soil, + Spirit School. Stephanie’s theory of change is rooted in community-driven, self-determined solutions created by BIPOC communities for BIPOC communities. She carries with her over a decade of Indigenous community-driven systems change work in healthcare, legal, herbal, agricultural, land access, and academic research spaces where she cut her teeth on speaking Truth to Power. Her work advancing sovereignty in institutional spaces with and for Indigenous communities has resulted in mandating Indigenous Cultural Safety training to service providers; Indigenous Dispute Transformation frameworks; and meaningful and ethical Indigenous-driven research in climate change.

Annie Cree is a Mohawk of Akwesasne and part of the Bear Clan, wife to Evan Cree and proud mother of four. Annie is Director of Outdoor Programming for Iakwa’shatste youth fitness and Youth Coach and team trainer to a few local minor sports teams. Working at IYF she is able to offer land-based activities such as hiking, biking, canoeing and snowshoeing to name a few. She also offers family-oriented programming and workshops to help educate parents and children together on safety issues, wellness, cooking classes, and traditional teachings and workshops. Annie has been a youth mentor for over a decade helping local youth with college prep or finding jobs and sometimes just being there for an ear to listen to what they have to say. Annie has also developed a running program that is offered in Akwesasne to the 5 local schools that helps prepare runners for a few different running events including the Ottawa marathon Kids run. Last year there were 65 kids total that participated in the program and 28 that attended the marathon. Annie is also a member of the Akwesasne Suicide Prevention Committee, The Akwesasne Coalition for Community Empowerment and the Community Health and Social Educators Committee all that help to bring wellness to the community.

Using Policy and Preservation to Foster an Adirondacks for All: Friday, November 4 from 7 to 8 p.m.

This is a virtual event to take place on Zoom.

During this final roundtable discussion in the “Adirondacks for All” week-long symposium, Aaron Mair will engage state representatives and Adirondack stakeholders in a conversation that touches on the past, present, and future of the Adirondacks. Mair is currently leading the Adirondack Council’s “Forever Adirondacks” campaign and formerly served as the first African-American president of the Sierra Club. Mair’s passion for stewardship, preservation, and environmental justice has put him at the center of efforts to memorialize the region’s African-American history and establish the Timbuctoo Summer Climate and Careers Institute which will connect New York City youth with educational programs and green job training based in the Adirondacks. Mair will address these and other projects designed to protect Adirondacks land and water while encouraging diversity, equity, and economic opportunity.

Register for the Zoom event here. 

About The Speaker:

Aaron Mair  is a 30-year wilderness expert and environmental justice pioneer, and advisor to White House’s Commission for Environmental Quality for the Clinton and Obama administrations.  Mair was the first African American president of the Sierra Club, and is well-known for his work in environmental justice. In this talk, he will discuss the first voting rights protection efforts for African Americans.

Although the museum has closed for the 2022 season, interested parties are welcome to keep tabs on online offerings including exhibitions and other educational activities by referencing their website here: https://www.theadkx.org/. Adirondack Experience is set to open in the Spring of 2023, for the opening of a new exhibition – Artists & Inspiration in the Wild.

All photos: Adirondack Experience website photos. 


Related Stories

Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox