Storytelling — stories about Native American history as told by the people who lived it and not the abridged school textbook version — is part of Dave Kanietakeron Fadden’s makeup, his DNA. He is Mohawk.
Though he’d never in his life addressed a group, Fadden went ahead and listed “storyteller” on his resume when applying for a position as an educator for the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, NY, in 1993. He got the job, and his first talk was to a busload of sixty third-graders. » Continue Reading.
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. » Continue Reading.
A study published in the journal Science Advances demonstrates how decorations on ancient pottery can be used to discover new evidence for how groups interacted across large regions. The research, conducted by John P. Hart, Director of Research and Collections at the New York State Museum; Jennifer Birch, Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia; and Christian Gates St-Pierre, Assistant Professor at the University of Montreal, sheds new light on the importance of a little-understood Iroquoian population in upstate New York and its impact on relations between two emerging Native American political powers in the 16th century.
Iroquoians in northeastern North America are best known for the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and Wendat (Huron) confederacies in upstate New York and southern Ontario. There are extensive early historic records of both groups. Descendants of these confederacies and their respective nations that remain in these areas today have rich oral traditions that speak to their histories before and after European contact. Archaeology fills out these records through the excavation and analyses of ancestral communities. » Continue Reading.
The Tahawus Center in association with the Hollywood Theater, will present episodes from the new Mohawk Ironworkers documentary on Monday, August 7, 7 pm at the Hollywood Theater, 14232 Rt 9N, in Au Sable Forks.
This film celebrates the determination of the Mohawk ironworkers of Kahnawake, Akwesasne and Six Nations. Mohawk Ironworkers was produced by Paul M. Rickard, George Hargrave, and Au Sable Fork’s Margaret Horn, who interviewed many of the characters as researcher and associate producer. The series features a team of Indigenous directors including Jeff Dorn, Margaret Horn, Courtney Montour, Paul M. Rickard, and Michelle Smith.
During this event, four episodes will be introduced by Horn, one of the directors, and one whose family has been involved in the trade for several generations. » Continue Reading.
Cornell University Press has released a new Critical Edition of Cadwallader Colden’s The History of the Five Indian Nations Depending on the Province of New-York in America. The Critical Edition includes several essays that consider Colden’s original text across social, cultural, and political contexts.
The History of the Five Indian Nations wasoriginally published in 1727 and revised in 1747. In the book, Colden discusses the religion, manners, customs, laws, and forms of government of the confederacy of tribes composed of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas (and, later, Tuscaroras), and gives accounts of battles, treaties, and trade up to 1697. » Continue Reading.
“It was in this scene of strife and bloodshed that the incidents we shall attempt to relate occurred, during the third year of the war which England and France last waged for the possession of a country that neither was destined to retain.”
Thus begins James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans. Published in 1826, it was the first novel based on America’s own, relatively recent history.
In August, 1757, after enduring a siege that had lasted six days, outnumbered three to one and deprived of any hopes of re-enforcements, Lt. Commander Munro, the Scots veteran charged with the defense of Fort William Henry, surrendered to the Marquis de Montcalm on the condition that the garrison be allowed to march out with the honors of war – flags, arms, but no ammunition. Montcalm agreed to escort the garrison to Fort Edward. The wounded were to remain at Fort William Henry until they were able to travel. » Continue Reading.
One of my family’s favorite year-round Adirondack museums is Tupper Lake’s Wild Center. The combination of trails and outdoor space mixed with live exhibits and multi-media shows satisfies a wide range of ages from grandmother to granddaughter.
Though the creative hands-on learning opportunities are a good part of its appeal, the Wild Center continues to grow with its audience through award-winning films, the Youth Climate Summit and other special programming. Saturday’s visit by Robin Wall Kimmerer, whose latest book is, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, is another of those occasions.
According to Exhibits and Programs Manager Rob Carr, Kimmerer’s reading is open to members and those with a paid admission to The Wild Center on January 9 at 1 pm. » Continue Reading.
What fearless animal has an adorable face, plows snow all winter and has a six-million acre park named after it?
One of 29 species worldwide, the North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) is the largest New World species, growing to 36 inches long and weighing as much as 35 pounds. That makes it the second-largest North American rodent behind the beaver, but still puny compared to an African crested porcupine which can exceed 60 pounds. It is also the only cold-hardy porcupine, and one of the few that regularly climb trees. » Continue Reading.
The winter of 1620 nearly wiped out the Pilgrims, who were woefully unprepared for life in the New world. Many historians feel they would all have perished if not for food provided by the Wampanoags, on whose land they settled. The following spring, the Wampanoags provided the Pilgrims with seeds to plant, as well as a tutorial (possibly an App, but we can’t be sure) on the production, storage and preservation of food crops such as corn, beans, and squash.
That fall – we’re not even sure if it was October or November – the Pilgrims gave thanks for Native American agriculture, and feasted upon its bounty for three days straight. The Wampanoags probably gave thanks that there wasn’t another ship full of Pilgrims on the horizon just then. » Continue Reading.
Like the political process, cranberries can leave a sour taste in your mouth. But unlike politics, whose bitter aftertaste cuts through any amount of sweetener, the flavor of cranberries is readily improved with a little sugar.
To say a fresh cranberry is sour is like saying Picasso and Monet are reasonably good painters. In fact it can have a lower pH value than stomach acid. It’s almost a wonder people ever started eating them, right? » Continue Reading.
Linus, the precocious, blanket-toting “Peanuts” character, waited faithfully for The Great Pumpkin all night on Halloween in spite of being disappointed every year. Perhaps his unwavering belief in the mythical pumpkin was spurred on by the fact that almost every year brings the world a bigger “great pumpkin” of the sort one can measure and – at least potentially – eat. » Continue Reading.
On Sunday, August 30, 2015, at 1 pm, history and views from the Lake Champlain Bridge will be the highlights of a guided bridge walk offered by the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vermont, and Crown Point State Historic Site in Crown Point, New York. Site manager Elsa Gilbertson (VT) and historian Tom Hughes (NY) will lead the tour.
Participants should meet at the Chimney Point State Historic Site museum on the Vermont end of the bridge to start. Allow two hours to walk back and forth across the bridge during the tour that explores the 9,000 years of human habitation at this important location on Lake Champlain. » Continue Reading.
The sight of maple sap bubbling away in an evaporator pan, the sweet smell in the air and the camaraderie of sugarin’ season are welcomed signs of spring here in the Adirondacks. It also has an interesting history; there is a connection between maple sugar production, slavery in the United States, and socially responsible investing.
Early settlers watched Native Americans slash the bark of mature maple trees during the “sugar month” (even today the full moon in March is called the “Sugaring Moon”). As the trees released their sap from these gashes the clear sweet liquid would be funneled through a series of concave pieces of birch bark stitched together with reeds to the base of each tree where a sealed birch bark basket stored the sap. » Continue Reading.
November 11, 2014 marked the 220th year of the Canandaigua Treaty, which was signed in 1794 by United States representative Colonel Timothy Pickering, and leaders of the Haudenosaunee Nations: the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora. The Canandaigua Treaty established peace, friendship, and respect between the Nations and the United States.
Each year leaders of these Sovereign Nations and others remembering and honoring the treaty meet at the original site of the treaty’s signing, a place called Council Rock. Council Rock sits on the front lawn of the Ontario County Courthouse on Main Street in Canandaigua, NY. » Continue Reading.
The legend of Sir John Johnson’s role in naming Raquette Lake has been written and re-written for more than a century. Below is the earliest source I have found, from the 1891 Annual Report of the New York State Forest Commission.
Its name is founded on a bit of history, hitherto traditional. During the War of the Revolution, a party of Indians and British soldiers, under command of Sir John Johnson… passed through the wilderness on their way from the Mohawk Valley to Canada. It was in the winter time, and, on reaching this lake, the party was overtaken by a sudden thaw, which made further travel on snow-shoes impossible. As the Indians and soldiers did not want to carry their snow-shoes, or raquettes, as they termed them, they piled them up and covered them over, making a large heap that remained there many years. The expedition had reached the South Inlet when the thaw set in, and it was there, on a point of land, that the pile was made… Old Mr. Woods, the pioneer settler of Raquette Lake, heard this story from the Indians themselves, and often pointed out to hunters the decaying fragments of the raquettes.
Believing that “Old Mr. Woods” refers to William Wood, I was intrigued to unravel the mysteries of this folklore. Wood was known to be close friends with local Native Americans, and the passage continues with a reference to Woods “in company with ‘Honest John Plumley’, Murray’s celebrated guide”. Wood sold his land on Indian Point to Plumley in 1859. » Continue Reading.
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