Developing Native content at the Tahawus Center

Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederacy. Called Kanien’kehá:ka, “People of the Place of Flint,” their traditional homeland extended through New York including the Adirondack Mountains, from the Mohawk River to the mountains of Vermont and southern Quebec. The Mohawk remain a thriving, creative nation with art and crafts that are inspired by their unique history and tradition.
Past is Present is an interpretive exhibit of arts and crafts at the Tahawus Center curated by Margaret Horn, Mohawk from the Bear Clan. Designed to provide access to the vibrant history and culture of the Mohawk, It demonstrates through oral histories, traditional and contemporary creative work, and participatory workshops and performance, how this integrates with the Adirondack region and peoples’ lives today.

The Tahawus Center is a renewal project in a rural, economically depressed, mill town in the northern Adirondacks. It occupies a formerly derelict 100-year old Masonic lodge, and in its short 3-year of operations, it is a veteran of two devastating floods in 2011. Nevertheless, today it is where art world and the village community engage with innovative and wide-ranging activities; a flexible, entertaining, gathering place, serving the community, while opening its Windows Gallery to the best talent and culture of the region. As part of that vision, we are committed to developing and providing access to native content on an ongoing basis.

Margaret Horn describes a strongly adaptive culture, and demonstrates through the interpretive exhibit a resilience and resourcefulness in historical and contemporary Mohawk expression.

It was a challenge to find support for projects exploring native content. For us, it is an honor and privilege to begin to expose Mohawk artists to the region which knows little of this vibrant culture which existed here before. The appreciation and resonance has been more than anyone anticipated. “Corn Husk Family” by Towanna

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