Tag Archives: Iroquois

Cayuga Museum Returns Iroquois Sacred Objects

The Cayuga Museum of History and Art, in Auburn, New York, has announced the return of 21 objects of spiritual significance to the custody of the Onondaga Nation. Nineteen masks and two wampum articles associated with burials were transferred from the Museum collection to the Onondaga Nation.

The 1990 Federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) mandates that federally funded museums return Native American “cultural items” to the lineal descendants or culturally-affiliated groups of the people who created them. The cultural objects covered include human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and items of cultural patrimony. Continue reading

31st Annual Iroquois Indian Festival This Weekend

The 31st Annual Iroquois Indian Festival takes place on Saturday, Sept. 1 and Sunday, Sept 2, at the Iroquois Indian Museum, 324 Caverns Road. For two days, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Festival features traditional Iroquois music, dance, Native foods and much more. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

This year, Dr. Darryl Tonemah, an award-winning singer/songwriter, will be the featured performer on both days. Tonemah, Kiowa/Comanche/Tuscarora, is a doctor by day and a musician every chance he gets. His music combines the energy of rock, the intelligence of folk, and the heart of country —- creating a musical niche he calls, “Native Americana”. His work, Welcome to Your Rainy Day, won the best Folk Recording in 2007 from the Native American Music Awards.

In addition to Tonemah, the festival also will feature:

· The Sky Dancers of Six Nations. The Sky Dancers are from the Six Nations Reserve in Southern Ontario, along the Grand River. Many of the dancers are members of the Cayuga Nation. The troupe will present traditional Iroquois social dances, the increasingly popular “smoke dance,” and will be inviting audience members to join them on the dance floor.

· Iroquois Social Dances. Social Dances are different from ceremonial or sacred dances. Socials are group dances performed on various occasions, and are meant for everyone. These are the dance traditions of this land, with ties that connect to a dynamic heritage going back more than 10,000 years. Such dances are always performed to music. The musicians create the melodies and rhythms with voice and traditional Iroquois instruments. The dancers perform in stunning hand-made traditional clothing.

· Iroquois Stories. Perry Ground is a Turtle Clan member of the Onondaga Nation who understands the importance of transmitting local knowledge and oral traditions to the next generations. Educating all people on the history, culture and beliefs of the Iroquois is his life’s work. Perry is a teacher and professional storyteller, who has learned many stories as well as storytelling styles

· All-Iroquois Native Art Market. Meet with the Iroquois artists and learn firsthand about their creations. The Market features both contemporary and traditional works. Your purchase of Iroquois art directly supports the efforts of Iroquois artists.

· Archeology and Flint Knapping Station. The Archeology Table will be set up on the on the main floor of the Museum, and staffed by volunteers and members of the Museum’s archeology department. They will help visitors to identify objects they have collected. A flint-knapping demonstration area will be located on the rear deck. Flint knapping is a skill in which a raw piece of flint is chipped to form an arrow point.

· Wildlife Rehabilitation. Local wildlife rehabilitator Kelly Martin cares for injured and orphaned birds of prey and other creatures that are unable to return to the wild. Wildlife rehabilitators are volunteers licensed by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Ms. Martin will display a variety of birds and animals and is available to answer questions and share her experiences.

· Self-Guided Nature Park Tours. Take a self-guided tour through the Museum’s 45-acre Nature Park. Using our informative trail maps and plant signs, learn about native plants and trees and how Iroquois peoples have made use of them for food, utility, and medicine.

Currently on display at the Museum is the exhibition, “Birds and Beasts in Beads: 150 Years of Iroquois Beadwork.” The exhibit features more than 200 beaded objects, largely from the collection of retired archeologist and Museum trustee, Dolores Elliott.

The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12 Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed Monday. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors/students and $5 for children ages 5-12. Children under five are free when accompanied by an adult. Special group rates are available by calling the Museum at 518-296-8949.

For more information: contact the Iroquois Indian Museum at (518) 296-8949, info@iroquoismuseum.org or visitwww.iroquoismuseum.org.

The Oneida Nation: People of the Standing Stone

Karim M. Tiro’s The People of the Standing Stone: The Oneida Nation From Revolution Through the Era of Removal (Univ. of Mass. Press, 2011) traces the history of the Oneida’s experiences from the American Revolution to the mid-nineteenth century.

Between 1765 and 1845, the Oneida Indian Nation weathered a trio of traumas: war, dispossession, and division. During the American War of Independence, the Oneidas became the revolutionaries most important Indian allies. They undertook a difficult balancing act, helping the patriots while trying to avoid harming their Iroquois brethren.

Despite the Oneidas wartime service, they were dispossessed of nearly all their lands through treaties with the state of New York. In eighty years the Oneidas had gone from being an autonomous, powerful people in their ancestral homeland to being residents of disparate, politically exclusive reservation communities separated by up to nine hundred miles and completely surrounded by non-Indians.

The Oneidas physical, political, and emotional division persists to this day. Even for those who stayed put, their world changed more in cultural, ecological, and demographic terms than at any time before or since. Oneidas of the post-Revolutionary decades were reluctant pioneers, undertaking more of the adaptations to colonized life than any other generation. Amid such wrenching change, maintaining continuity was itself a creative challenge. The story of that extraordinary endurance lies at the heart of this book. Additional materials, including teaching resources, are available online.

The author specializes in North America from the 16th through the mid-­19th centuries. He is also the author of Along the Hudson and Mohawk: The 1790 Journey of Count Paolo Andreani (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006). Tiro is an Associate Professor of History at Xavier University and is currently researching the history of the United States sugar industry.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Pre-European Agriculture in the Champlain Valley

When I set out to write From Forest to Fields: A History of Agriculture in New York’s Champlain Valley, I became discouraged by the mixed information coming from various authors.

While there is archeological evidence of Native settlements in Plattsburgh at Cumberland Bay, across Lake Champlain in Vermont and along the Hudson River and its tributaries, little information exists for the rest of the Adirondack Coast.

In the following, I will present the information from resource materials so that readers may better understand the conclusions presented in our short history.

The obvious starting place for understanding pre-European life in the Champlain Valley was to explore the journal of Samuel de Champlain, who recorded what he observed of Native life. In “Voyages,” he states:

“I made inquiry of the savages whether these localities were inhabited, when they told me that the Iroquois dwelt there, and that there were beautiful valleys in these places with plains productive in grain, such as I had eaten in this country, together with many kinds of fruit without limit.”

In this context, it is hard to determine what “localities” the Natives are referring to, but if we explore deeper, Champlain states the following after the conflict at Ticonderoga artfully depicted in the image at the top of the page:

“…the raiding party amused themselves plundering Indian corn and meal, which had been raised on the clear ground.”

Therefore, we can determine the Champlain did in fact see native agricultural development in New York’s Champlain Valley. However, if we move forward to 1858, Flavius J. Cook, author of Home Sketches of Essex County, has a very different perspective.

“…Few sounds, save of the warwhoop and of the wild bird and beast- few movements, save of the human or brute forms, crouching, contending, retreating or simply passing by, disturbed the western shore of Champlain in its earliest ruggedness and beauty.”
 

Cook concludes that prior to the European exploration, that the area between Horicon and Lake Champlain was an uninhabited no-man’s land between warring tribes, despite Champlain’s contrary observations. This conclusion was even shared in the 20th century in the Ticonderoga Historical Society’s Patches and Patterns from Its Past (1969).

“For many generations, perhaps centuries, it [Ticonderoga] had been an in-between land, the rich hunting ground of and often the battle ground of the primitive people to the north and south of us. Archeologists hint at very ancient cultures that occupied the Champlain Valley after the last glacier withdrew some twelve to fourteen thousand years ago. The small study that has been made in the field does not seem to point to any particularly heavy population at any time in our ancient past. Here the grinding mass of ice that scooped out or valleys and in its melting heaped up our useful deposits of sand and gravel seem to have been found in slow procession  by mosses, grasses, shrubs and forest, with very little disturbance by homo sapiens except as he came to feast upon the plenitude of fish and game that were to be found here.”

What we can ascertain is the knowledge of agriculture of tribes in the surrounding area. This information is best presented in Peter S. Palmer’s History of Lake Champlain 1609-1814(1886)

The Iroquois were powerful, plitic, warlike and courageous … They lived in villages, around which they had extensive cultivated fields … The Algonquians were a warlike nation and a migratory people, disdaining the cultivation of the soil and depending altogether on the produce of the chase. The Hurons had some slight knowledge of husbandry, but were more effeminate and luxurious than the other tribes, and inferior in savage virtue and independence. They lived in villages, of which the nation possessed twenty, but were inferior in construction and strength to those of the Iroquois.

The conclusion that we draw in From Forest to Fields is that it would be shortsighted to overlook Champlain’s observation of corn and meal grown at Ticonderoga, particularly with the knowledge we have of the Algonquin, Iroquois and Huron tribes living in the surrounding areas. It is much more likely that migratory tribes lived in this area, depending primarily on cultivated wild foods, fish and game. To a much lesser extent, they would grow corn, beans and squash (the Three Sisters) as part of a companion planting system that left them free to pursue their seasonal migration from winter villages to summer camps near the Lake.  Since this is a more “mobile” culture, it would be easy for a tribe to retreat into the forest in instances of impending danger, and for observers to conclude that no Native settlements existed in this area.

Native Artisans at the Fenimore Art Museum

The Fenimore Art Museum welcomes five Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) artists this summer to spend three days in the museum galleries and outdoors at our Native American interpretive site, Otsego: A Meeting Place. Engaging conversations with these artists offer a delightful, insightful way to learn about traditional Native American art skills that have been handed down for generations.

June 18-20: In addition to traditional pottery, Natasha Smoke Santiago, a self-taught artist, casts the bellies of pregnant women and then forms the casts into sculptural objects incorporating Haudenosaunee craft techniques. She will be creating pottery on site and sharing its relationship to Haudenosaunee tradition and stories.

July 17-19: Penelope S. Minner is a fourth-generation traditional artist making black ash splint baskets and cornhusk dolls. Working in the customary Seneca way, Penny uses no forms for basket shapes and sizes.

August 5-7: Karen Ann Hoffman creates beautiful decorative pieces following the traditions of Iroquois raised beadwork and embodying Iroquoisworldviews.

August 21-23: Ken Maracle creates beads from quahog shells and has been making reproduction wampum belts for more than 25 years. He also makes condolence canes, horn rattles, water drums, and traditional headdresses. He speaks the Cayuga language and is knowledgable about the history of wampum and his people.

August 30-September 1: Iroquois sculptor Vincent Bomberry carves images of Iroquois life in stone.

Artisans will be in the museum galleries and at Otsego: AMeeting Place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During the Artisan Series, visitors can explore the extraordinary Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, a collection of over 800 objects representative of a broad geographic range of North American Indian cultures. Tours of Otsego: A Meeting Place and its Seneca Log House and Mohawk Bark House are also available.

Admission: adults and juniors (13-64) is $12.00- seniors (65+): $10.50- and free for children (12 and under). Admission is always free for NYSHA members, active military, and retired career military personnel. Members enjoy free admission all year.

For more information, visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org.

Iroquois Indian Museum Opens With New Exhibit

The Iroquois Indian Museum has opened for its 2012 season with a new exhibit, “Birds and Beasts in Beads: 150 Years of Iroquois Beadwork.” The exhibit features more than 200 beaded objects, largely from the collection of beadwork scholar, retired archeologist and Museum trustee, Dolores Elliott. A Spring Party to Celebrate the Opening from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 5


A great number of animal images appear in Iroquois beadwork including pets, forest wildlife, farm animals, and exotic beasts. The exhibition highlights these animals that appear on varied beaded household items such as purses, pincushions, wall pockets and picture frames made popular during the Victorian era.


The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12 Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed Monday. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors/students and $5 for children ages 5-12. Children under five are free when accompanied by an adult. Special group rates are available by calling the Museum at 518-296-8949. The museum is located in Howes Cave, NY (Off Exit 23 of I-88).

Iroquois Indian Museum Prepares Opening, Events

The Iroquois Indian Museum opens for its 2012 season on May 1 with a new exhibit and special events planned throughout the year. From May 1 until the closing day on November 30, the Museum hosts the exhibition, “Birds and Beasts in Beads: 150 Years of Iroquois Beadwork.” The exhibit features more than 200 beaded objects, largely from the collection of retired archeologist and Museum trustee, Dolores Elliott.

A great number of animal images appear in Iroquois beadwork including pets, forest wildlife, farm animals, and exotic beasts. The exhibition highlights these animals that appear on varied beaded household items such as purses, pincushions, wall pockets and picture frames made popular during the Victorian era.

In addition to the exhibit, the Museum has a Nature Park of 45 acres and a Children’s Museum —- an active, hands-on area —- where Iroquois traditions are introduced through crafts, games and technologies.

The Museum has a full schedule of special events in 2012 (see below). Events at the Museum are free with paid admission. The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 12 Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed Monday. Regular admission is $8 for adults, $6.50 for seniors/students and $5 for children ages 5-12. Children under five are free when accompanied by an adult. Special group rates are available by calling the Museum at 518-296-8949. For more information, visit www.iroquoismuseum.org.

2012 SPECIAL EVENTS

May 26 & 27: IROQUOIS CULTURAL FESTIVAL: Join the Iroquois Indian Museum at New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown for their first festival featuring Iroquois artists, dancers and storytellers.

May 29: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Carla Hemlock, Mohawk quilter and Babe Hemlock, Mohawk painter demonstrate at Iroquois Indian Museum. (May 26 – 28: Carla and Babe will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

June 3: from 1:00 – 3:00: PLANTING A THREE SISTERS GARDEN AND STORYTELLING: Visitors are invited to help us plant a Three Sisters Garden of corn, beans and squash. Traditional Iroquois stories about planting and the natural world will be shared.

June 22: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Natasha Smoke Santiago, Mohawk painter and sculptor demonstrates at Iroquois Indian Museum (June 17 – 21: Natasha will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

July 4: EARLY TECHNOLOGY DAY: Visitors can watch and participate in the process of flint knapping, using local and semi-local cherts and lithics, fire making, atl-atl spear throwing, and early archery. There will be displays of projectile points, tools, and local archaeological finds from our archaeology department.

July 14: IROQUOIS SOCIAL DANCE SATURDAY with ONOTA’A:KA (Oneida Nation Dancers)
Onota’a:ka, based in the central New York Haudenosaunee community of Oneida, was founded by Elder and Wolf Clan Mother Maisie Shenandoah for the purpose of cultural education. While Maisie passed away in 2009, the troupe’s original purpose continues to be carried forth by daughter Vicky, granddaughter Tawn:tene (Cindy Schenandoah Stanford) and an extended family with common goals. For the Schenandoahs dance is not a separate expression of heritage and thanksgiving, but one that is thoroughly integrated into daily life. The dancers will demonstrate a variety of traditional Iroquois Social Dances and encourage participation from the audience. Social songs vary in length, verses and tempo depending on the song selection of the singers. All dances are done in a counter clockwise direction. The instruments used in the social dances in various combinations are the water drum, the horn rattle, hard sticks and the beating of the feet on the floor.

July 20: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Penelope S. Minner, Seneca Basketmaker demonstrates at Iroquois Indian Museum (August 5 – 7: Penelope will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

July 28: IROQUOIS SOCIAL DANCE SATURDAY: Iroquois performers will demonstrate a variety of traditional Iroquois Social Dances and encourage participation from the audience. Social songs vary in length, verses and tempo depending on the song selection of the singers. All dances are done in a counter clockwise direction. The instruments used in the social dances in various combinations are the water drum, the horn rattle, hard sticks and the beating of the feet on the floor.

August 2, 3, & 4: SONG QUEST WITH JOANNE SHENANDOAH: For the first time at the Iroquois Indian Museum, Grammy Award winning songwriter and performer Joanne Shenandoah offers a comprehensive song-writing workshop. Benefit Concert Performance at the conclusion of the workshop on Saturday evening. Pre-registration for workshop required. shenandoaj@aol.com

August 8: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Karen Ann Hoffman, Oneida beadworker demonstrates at Iroquois Indian Museum (August 5 – 7: Karen will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

August 11: IROQUOIS SOCIAL DANCE SATURDAY with the HAUDENOSAUNEE DANCERS from Onondaga. The Haudenosaunee Dancers perform Iroquois social dances as practiced in their small traditional community near Syracuse. Elegant and knowledgeable, leader Sherri Waterman-Hopper has traveled internationally as an artist and cultural speaker. The Dancers feature a core group of seasoned singer/musicians and talented and dedicated young adults. Pride in the culture and adherence to the traditions are the hallmarks of this disciplined troupe. The dancers will demonstrate a variety of traditional Iroquois Social Dances and encourage participation from the audience. Social songs vary in length, verses and tempo depending on the song selection of the singers. All dances are done in a counter clockwise direction. The instruments used in the social dances in various combinations are the water drum, the horn rattle, hard sticks and the beating of the feet on the floor.

August 24: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Ken Maracle, Cayuga Wampum Maker demonstrates at Iroquois Indian Museum (August 21 – 23 : Ken will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

September 1 & 2: 31ST ANNUAL IROQUOIS INDIAN FESTIVAL: Festival offerings include Iroquois music and social dance, traditional stories, all-Iroquois art market, games and Native food. More highlights include wildlife exhibits, archeology ID table, and flintknapping demonstrations.

September 2: NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISAN SERIES: Vince Bomberry, Cayuga Sculptor demonstrates at Iroquois Indian Museum (August 30 – September 1: Vince will be at the Fenimore Art Museum/New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown)

Iroquois Beadwork at the Art of Flowering Talk

The Adirondack Museum’s fifth 2012 Cabin Fever Sunday series program, “Inventing Fashion: Iroquois Beadwork at the ‘-Art of Flowering’” will be held on Sunday, March 18, 2012. The event will be offered free of charge.

In the mid-19th century, New York State officials began to collect Iroquois material culture, intending to preserve remnants of what they saw as a vanishing race. At the same time, Iroquois women were discovering that their beadwork was appealing to the fashionable Victorian women flocking to Niagara Falls and Saratoga Springs on the Grand Tour of America.

This multimedia presentation by Dr. Deborah Holler traces the historic development of Iroquois beadwork and costume, which came to define the public image of “Indian-ness” around the world. Images are drawn from the collections of the Lewis Henry Morgan and Rochester museums, as well as private collections. These images also illuminate the contributions of the Iroquois to the textile arts, as well as the complex cultural exchange that defined the fashions of 19th century New York State.

Dr. Deborah Holler is a Lecturer and Mentor at Empire State College and teaches in Cultural Studies, Literature and the Arts. Her articles and creative writing have been published in regional and national magazines as well as academic journals. She has presented her lectures at national and international conferences, historical societies, and cultural events throughout New York State and is currently working on projects concerning the life and times of 19th century Seneca Caroline G. Parker Mountpleasant.

This program will be held at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts at Blue Mountain Lake, and will begin at 1:30 p.m. For additional information, call (518) 352-7311, ext. 128 or visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.

Photo: Pincushion, typical of souvenir made for tourists by Eastern woodland Indians. From the collection of the Adirondack Museum.

Four Indian Kings Lecture in Albany Thursday

On Thursday, November 17, the State University of New York Press will present the Third Annual John G. Neihardt Lecture, featuring a talk by renowned novelist, historian, and lifelong dream explorer Robert Moss. Co-sponsored by the Albany Institute of History & Art, the event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Albany Institute, located at 125 Washington Avenue in downtown Albany. The program will begin at 4:00 pm and a reception will follow the lecture.

Moss will begin his lecture, “Four Indian Kings, Dream Archaeology, and the Iroquois Struggle for Survival on the New York Frontier,” with a bit of entertainment by following the adventures of Four Indian Kings at the court of Queen Anne in 1710 as they are taken to see Macbeth and to a horrible scene of bear-baiting. He will then discuss his own development of a discipline he calls dream archaeology which involves reclaiming authentic knowledge of ancestral traditions through a combination of careful research, active dreamwork, and shamanic journeying across time and between dimensions. He will end his lecture by delving into the Iroquois struggle for survival before the American Revolution.

Born in Australia, Robert Moss is the bestselling author of nine novels, including his Cycle of the Iroquois (Fire Along the Sky, The Firekeeper, and The Interpreter) and nine nonfiction books on dreaming, shamanism, and imagination, including Conscious Dreaming, Dreamways of the Iroquois, and The Secret History of Dreaming. A former lecturer in ancient history at the Australian National University, magazine editor and foreign correspondent, he spent seven years researching the background to his Cycle of the Iroquois, walking the battlefields of the French and Indian War, studying the languages, traditions, and spiritual practices of the Iroquois and their neighbors, and mining documentary sources. He gives lectures and seminars all over the world. Moss lives in upstate New York.

John G. Neihardt (1881-1973) was the celebrated author of many books of poetry, fiction, and philosophy. His work includes The River and I- Man-Song- and the legendary Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux all of which are available from SUNY Press. The John G. Neihardt Lecture was established by Coralie Hughes, Neihardt’s granddaughter, in honor of his legacy.

For more information on SUNY Press and the Neihart Lecture can be found online.

Photo: Hendrick Tejonihokarawa, one of the “Four Indian Kings” who traveled to London in 1710. The print, by John Verelst, is entitled “Tee Yee Neen Ho Ga Row, Emperor of the Six Nations.” The title “Emperor” was a bit of a stretch, he belonged to the council of the Mohawk tribe, but not to that of the Iroquois Confederacy as a whole.

DATE CHANGE:30th Annual Iroquois Indian Festival

The Iroquois Indian Museum of Howes Cave, New York, will host the 30th Annual Iroquois Indian Festival on Saturday, October 15 through Sunday, October 16 (date corrected 10/14). Festival offerings include Iroquois music and social dance, traditional stories, all-Iroquois art market, games and Native food.

New this year will be a silent auction on Saturday from 10 to 5, on the main floor of the Museum will feature contemporary and vintage Native artwork- limited edition Yankees and Red Sox Native player collectibles- Native performers autographed memorabilia- local business gift certificates- antique books- music & DVDs- and more.

The Sky Dancers from Six Nations Reserve in Ontario will perform traditional Iroquois social dances. Also for the first time, audience members will be invited to participate in a Smoke Dance competition with prizes for adults and children.

Additional highlights include: Children’s Activities Tent- wildlife rehabilitator Kelly Martin with a variety of recent rescues- Pamela Brown “Wolf Teacher” returns to promote understanding and awareness of wolves- archeology ID table- survival skills presentation with Barry Keegan- and flintknapping demonstrations.

The Festival is supported in part through grants from The New York State Council on the Arts, and donations from members and friends of the Museum.

The Iroquois Indian Museum is located just 35 miles west of Albany New York, near the intersection of highways 7 and 145. Take exit 22 from Interstate 88 and follow the signs. There is a fee for entrance to the Festival grounds.

For more information contact email info@iroquoismuseum.org or visit the museum’s website.