Out & About

September 27, 2012

Mohawk art, then and now

AuSABLE FORKS — Margaret Horn has lived in Jay for seven years.

She was thrilled to join her son, Thahawitha (“He brings it with him”), and granddaughter, Wattsitsonni (“She makes the flowers bloom”), in the Adirondacks, the ancestral homeland of her people.

But over time, she discovered she didn’t see anything visible pertaining to the Mohawk Nation or Kanienkehaka.

She changed that with “Mohawk of the Adirondacks,” an art exhibit at The Windows Gallery of the Tahawus Lodge Center, featuring the works of Towanna Miller, Kakwirakeron Montour, Star Horn, Cheyanne Doxtador, Natasha Santiago Smoke and Barbara Little Bear, all artists from Kahnawake or Akwesasne.

The exhibit runs through Friday, Oct. 12, and celebrates Mohawk history, art and culture through the ages. Artifacts on display include cradleboards, a corn pounder, and horn and turtle rattles. An array of baskets created from birch bark, sweet grass and porcupine quill are displayed.

“I knew Rebecca Kelly at the Tahawus Lodge through dance,” said Margaret, show curator and an advocate for aboriginal society and culture for a quarter century.

“I discovered what they were doing," Margaret said. "I approached them in the early spring. I suggested we start off with something I can identify, something easy for me to organize and create as a Mohawk.” 

In Canada, Margaret’s ventures included jewelry, art, documentary film, education and tourism.

“Part of the intent for me was to start making connections with people here, so they could discover what the Mohawks are. They are still alive and producing artwork, especially through crafts. It’s a very easy way to engage people to be able to talk about culture through art,” she said.

On exhibit is a beaded women’s yoke by Barbara Little Bear.

“Traditionally, there was a lot of beadwork,” Margaret said. “On our regalia, our traditional dress, that is one of the pieces we’re showing.”

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