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HANKS GALLERY - Contemporary Collections
|THE GOAL OF THE MUSEUM IS
THE BEST COLLECTION IN THE WORLD OF MODERN IROQUOIS CREATIVITY:
FINE ARTS, TRADITIONAL AND MODERN CRAFTS, PHOTOGRAPHY AND MULTI-MEDIA. IT GROWS THROUGH ACQUISITIONS
AND GIFTS FROM THE PUBLIC, INCLUDING IROQUOIS ARTISTS AND COLLECTORS.
THE MUSEUM'S CONTEMPORARY COLLECTION BEGINS IN THE 1960s AND EXTENDS TO THE PRESENT.
Mission Statement: The Iroquois Indian Museum is an educational institution dedicated to fostering understanding of Iroquois culture using Iroquois art as a window to that culture. The museum is a venue for promoting Iroquois art and artists, and a meeting place for all peoples to celebrate Iroquois culture and diversity. As an anthropological institution, it is informed by research on archaeology, history, and the common creative spirit of modern artists and craftspeople.
Vision Statement: Inspired by the image of an Iroquois longhouse in the clearing, the Iroquois Indian Museum is actively connected with all Iroquois communities and celebrates the cultural diversity, rich history, archaeology, and artistic expression of the IroquoisMohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora.
|Black ash splint basket by Christie Arquette, Mohawk from Akwesasne||The Iroquois continue to live in the Northeast, and their artists' creations introduce the public to what they value most today. The close relationship the Iroquois have to the natural world can be seen in the work of a black ash splint basket or an antler carving.|
A stone carving or clay sculpture communicates Iroquois values, humor, concerns, or thoughts about their future. Their art is further influenced by a rich oral tradition and strong cultural continuity.
|Hospitality by Tom Huff, Seneca/Cayuga from Onondaga|
The Museum represents the world's most comprehensive exhibition of Modern Iroquois arts. This collection celebrates the ancient unity of the Iroquois still expressed in the common creative spirit of today's artists and craftspeople.
IROQUOIS HISTORY - Historical Collections
The Iroquois are famous in history as the most powerful and influential Native Americans in eastern north America. Their Confederacy of six nations, the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora, played a vital role in the development of North America, both before and after the arrival of European settlers.
The Museum specializes in researching the ethnohistory of the Schoharie Mohawk, with a large library of copies of original papers and records from the 1600s and 1700s. New trading markets, technologies, alliances, and religions affected the lives of Iroquois women and men. Exhibits and programs illustrate the men's realm of politics, hunting, warfare, games, and chieftainship, and the women's realm of the longhouse, the clan, the crops, and their role in politics.
Iroquois are among the Native American descendants of the first people of this land. They call themselves the Haudenosaunee - "People who live in the extended longhouse". The name "Iroquois" was given to them by their neighbors (Algonkian speaking people) and then used by Europeans.
The Five nations -- Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, & Seneca became the Six Nations when the Tuscarora joined in 1712. Members of other Native nations were conquered, were adopted in the 1600 and 1700s, or fled to Iroquois communities to escape from the encroachments of the new white settlers.
Iroquois villages in the early 1600s centered in what is known as upstate New York. Today Iroquois live in 17 communities in the United States and Canada and in urban areas.Iroquois have always been attuned to the needs of the market place. Archaeological evidence confirms their wide-spread trade networks. After the European arrival, they became leaders in the fur trade and in selling land. Furs, such as beaver, raccoon, or martin were traded for such items as men's ruffled shirts, ribbon, beads, knives, or brass kettles. When the fur trade ceased and their land base was drastically reduced, trade of utilitarian or decorative objects became essential to a firm economic base.
In the mid 1800s through the turn of the century certain Iroquois communities became known for producing tourist items. Women from Tuscarora and Kahnawake created beadwork for sale at the nearby tourist spots of Niagara Falls and Montreal. Akwesasne was well known for producing baskets of all sizes and for all occasions. From Oneida, Wisconsin came delicate cornhusk dolls. In all the communities men and women produced arts for sale to non-Natives.
The tourist market remains important to today's Iroquois. Late Spring through Fall, a number of Iroquois craftspeople follow the powwow circuit to sell their work. Others sell to shops in and away from their communities, sell from their home, attend festivals or craft shows, or are invited to museums or other functions to demonstrate and sell their work.
Often those who do craft work are involved in the performing arts. Some dance, are musicians or singers, and others tell stories or talk about their culture. This tradition continues from the late 1800s when Iroquois were a part of Wild West shows or formed their own touring groups.
Through its exhibits and performance activities, the Iroquois Indian Museum highlights these Iroquois traditions.