Respectfully Teaching the Visual Arts of the Haudenosaunee. Native Americans of the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora Nations. Kathie Maniaci Syracuse University. The Haudenosaunee. (pronounced HO-dee-no-SHOW-nee) . Current Haudenosaunee
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territories can be found in New York State, Oklahoma, (Seneca & Cayuga) Wisconsin, (Oneida) and Canada. (Mohawk & Oneida)
“In some ways the Haudenosaunee of the past defined themselves through art-the art of storytelling, the art of dance, the performance of a ritual, the sacred speeches, and the creation of clothing, tools, utensils, and wampum belts – all of which produced a set of commonly understood cultural metaphors. It was through these metaphors and symbols that meaning was communicated across the generations.”
Richard Hill, Tuscarora Artist and Educator
If I am not Haudenosaunee, how can I
teach about their visual arts?
Explicit Cultural Components:
Implicit Cultural Components:
Unspoken and Non-Obvious
Assumptions and Behavior
How can I be sure as an art educator
that I am presenting cultural information
respectfully with both implicit and explicit knowledge intact?
“A lot of Iroquoian art is narrative, the traditional and the contemporary. There are three categories; the traditional crafts that became art, tradition-based artwork but contemporary contents, and the contemporary art.”
Onondaga-Seneca Artist Peter Jones
Traditional Haudenosaunee Crafts
Clan Animals: Bear,
Turtle, Deer, Wolf,
The Three Sisters:
Corn, Beans & Squash
“All wooden and corn husks masks of the Haudenosaunee are sacred regardless of size or age. By their very nature masks are empowered the moment they are made. The image of the mask is sacred and is only to be used for its intended purpose. Masks do not have to be put through any ceremony or have tobacco attached to them in order to become useful or powerful. Masks should not be made unless they are to be used by members of the medicine society according to established tradition.”
(Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee, 1995, p. 1)
Contemporary Haudenosaunee Art
From the book, “Iroquois Corn In a Culture-Based Curriculum: A Framework for Respectfully Teaching About Cultures,” by Carol Cornelius, 1999.
Guidelines for Art Educators
“Art can be a preserver of social patterns as well as a teacher of cultural understanding. Art can provide a structure for encountering the reality of diverse cultures through the senses, and can also offer the opportunity to experience that reality through the sixth sense “insight.” Thus, a multicultural approach in art education can serve to broaden educational perspectives, to shed light on cultural misunderstandings, and to promote cross-cultural acceptance and communication.”
Art Educator Pat Barbanell
Chief Jake Tekaronianeken Swamp
Wolf Clan, Akwesasne Mohawk Nation
“Giving Thanks” appears on the
Joanne Shenandoah CD “Covenant”
Adejumo, C. O. (2002). Considering multicultural art education.Art Education, 55,
Barbanell, P. (1994). Multicultural art education: many views, one reality. Journal of Cross-
cultural Multicultural and Research in Art Education, 12, 26-33.
Batdorf, B. (2002). Excerpt from The Haudenosaunee: A look at today’s NYS curriculum
[Electronic version]. SU NY Cortland Independent Study, 1-7. Retrieved April 10,
2005 from http://www.otsiningo.com/curic.htm
Cornelius, C. (1999). Iroquois corn in a culture-based curriculum: a framework for
respectfully teaching about cultures. Albany, NY: State University of New York
Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee, (1995). Policy statement on medicine masks
[Brochure]. (also found on the internet at http://www.nativetech.org/cornhusk/
Hill, R. W., (1998). The fine art of defining the Haudenosaunee. In S. S. Kasprycki,
A.V. Roth, & D. I. Stambrau (ED) Iroquois art: visual expressions of
contemporary Native American artists (pp. 2 – 7).Altenstadt, Germany: European Review of
Native American Studies.
Iroquois Hair Comb Education and Art Project (2002). About the project. Retrieved March
21, 2005, available from http://users.adelphia.net/~kerussell4/index.html