|IROQUOIS INDIAN MUSEUM|
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THE MUSEUM BUILDING
In a modern building designed to evoke the Great Longhouses of the Iroquois, visitors are introduced to another world view.
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.
Photo by John Leverett
|A museum shaped as a longhouse to recall the traditional Iroquois longhouse of elm bark found in this area 400 years ago. A long and lofty longhouse with ingenious smoke holes in its roof, is featured by architect, C. Treat Arnold as a modern skylight over the main gallery. Grey shakes on the exterior suggest slabs of elm bark.|
The outdoor amphitheater located under a summer tent has a special floor constructed for Iroquois social dancing. The amphitheater is also used for story telling, talks, and various performing arts.The Museum's open porches suggest that additions are possible. Iroquois longhouses grew to be over 300 feet long at times. The open mezzanine recalls the upper level of bunks and storage.
|The open central stairwell is the architect's reminder that visitors can retrace the key event in the Iroquois account of Creation: Sky Woman's descent from the Sky World to Turtle Island, which we call North America.|
The Museum offers a 45 acre Nature Park. Short and long trails. Guided and self-informed tours. Stream and River. Shagbark hickory stands. Fields of wildflowers. deer, raccoon, occasional beaver, woodchucks, squirrels, birds. All nature as kin -- alive, possible medicines, a realm of the spirit co-existing with humans.
NATURE PARK SPONSORS :
In the Nature Park of forty-five acres visitors are introduced to the Iroquois view of nature -- Our Mother the Earth, our Elder Brother the Sun, our Grandfathers the Thunderers, our Three Sisters (Corn, Beans, and Squash), the earth as Turtle Island, the nine clan animals, the four beings who are the winds, our Grandmother Moon, Morning Star, the Seven Dancers, and the Little People who control the medicine and herbs given by the Creator.
The Nature Park is literally an island that time forgot, but the living beings in the park are involved with a struggle to survive in the modern world. The Museum also tells that story.
|The Park consists of fields and woods, with a feeder stream winding its way down to Cobleskill Creek, which flows along the entire southeast corner of the park. Sometime in the last century, a huge stone dam was built across the stream, but one of those "once in a century" storms took out the center of the dam, leaving mute but dramatic testimony to the power of the surrounding watershed. Today the stream is classified as a trout stream by DEC, but trout have yet to be discovered. Other fish, frogs, crayfish, green heron, kingfisher, and a rare visiting beaver have been noted.|
|The park is a fine spot for birding. Deer and racoon are plentiful, as though the site has become an island of safety for them. The woods has a strong group of shagbark hickory trees, with many venerable and stately hemlocks. A few dignified maples are engaged in their silent struggle against "Maple Decline", and the Park's many ash trees are trying desperately to survive what is called locally a "Die Off", caused by some mysterious virus. We believe acid rain is making survival difficult for all these trees.|
|In the Nature Park are two 19th century log homes moved from Six Nations Reserve, Ontario, and rebuilt by a Mohawk construction company. The homes were used as residences well into this century.|
A close relationship with students and faculty of SUNY Cobleskill has promoted studies of the Park's ecology; many others have helped also. Some points of focus have been the bird population, the life in the stream, the watershed, the floriculture, wild flowers, and plants growing in the Park that have special uses for the Iroquois, particularly as medicines.
These are our living kin, sharing with us a spiritual universe in which the common language is thankfulness.
spokesman, Dick Chrisjohn and Trustee, John Ferguson,
walk along one of the Museum's trails after Dick performed the
Thanksgiving Address to open up the Nature Park.