In partnership with the Akwesasne Cultural Center, the Six Nations Indian Museum, and the Native North American Travelling College, The Wild Center in Tupper Lake is currently hosting Ways of Knowing. The collaborative new project encourages visitors to reinterpret the natural world, emphasizing thousands of years of Indigenous ecological knowledge.
The Wild Center’s living wetland exhibit, the Oxbow, has undergone a transformation. Director of The Six Nations Indian Museum, David Kanietakeron Fadden, reenvisioned the Oxbow to illustrate a connection between life and landscape. The exhibit is based on the Thanksgiving Address of the Haudenosaunee people, who have inhabited the Adirondack region for thousands of years. Through original art and storytelling videos, Fadden invites guests to reflect on their place in the natural world, all while learning about the culture of the Haundenosaunee.
“When I was first approached by The Wild Center about the idea of reinterpreting the Oxbow wetland exhibit, I immediately thought of the Ohenton Karikhawehkwen (Words before all else) also known as the Thanksgiving Address,” said Fadden in a statement. “The address is an acknowledgement and a message of gratitude to all aspects of the natural world. From an artist’s point of view I wanted the exhibit space to lose the sharp angles and industrial look to more accurately reflect what nature looks like… It is my hope that this project will being an awareness of the ‘oneness’ with nature that most Native people feel and that those who experience this exhibit will walk away with the same passion.”
We Are From Akwesasne
This interactive travelling exhibit showcases the art, artifacts, songs, stories, beliefs, and craftsmanship of the Mohawk Nation. Curated by Akwesasne youth and coordinated by Sue Ellen Herne of the Akwesasne Cultural Center, We Are From Akwesasne offers a hands-on learning experience that celebrates culture and artistic heritage.
“My work at the Akwesasne Cultural Center-Museum has been focused on developing ways to broaden understanding of the many facets of Mohawk culture,” said Herne in a statement. “We serve our own community and the visiting public. There has been a history of miseducation related to Indigenous people, and also a history of lack of education on our perspectives.”
Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge. Shared Science.
Through the voices of elders and youth community members, students are taught about sustainability and the power of collaboration. Presenting solutions to real world problems, four Indigenous communities come together in this travelling exhibit: the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation, Native Hawaiians, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and Tulalip Tribes. Several organizations contributed to the exhibit as well, including the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Indigenous Education Institute (IEI), Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), and Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).
In this exhibit, guests are invited to step into the past! With the Native North American Travelling College of northern Akwesasne, learn about gardening methods, tools for gathering, and the plants that were used in traditional Haudenosaunee food systems.
An opening celebration for Ways of Knowing will be held on July 7 from 10 AM to 6 PM. Come see a social dance with the Native North American Travelling College, hear stories told by David Kanietakeron Fadden, make a sweetgrass bookmark with Robin Lazore, and visit the Akwesasne Cultural Center Museum’s booth! Crafts by Akwesasne artisans will be on display all day.