The Iroquois Creation Story--which speaks of the truly amazing Celestial Tree, Sky Woman, Turtle Island, Flint and Sky Holder--is an oral tradition that has
been documented hundreds, if not thousands, of times by Iroquoian
artists. But it's never been presented on film, says
2 Day Diet
Reviews Peter Jemison, site manager of the
Ganondogan Historic Site in Victor, New York. He aims to alter by using a new animated film connected to a new building.
Your building may be the new Seneca Art and Culture Center being constructed at Ganondogan. Ganondagan is the site of a Seneca village translated as Town of
Peace (Peace Town, or White Town because of the wampum color) which was destroyed by the French in 1687. Its granaries housed tons of corn that fed the
Seneca and also the Iroquois Confederacy. The Iroquois White Corn Project was founded by John Mohawk amongst others and Peter Jemison brought it to
Ganondogan some 20 years ago. Once the new Center opens in July (along with Ganondagan's annual Dance and Music Festival) the development may have taken a
couple of years to complete, however the planning and fundraising took 12 years. This structure is a permanent, year-round facility focused on Seneca and
Haudenosaunee contributions to art, culture and society. The copy2 million project is made possible with a grant from NY State economic development
initiatives, contributions from the Seneca Nation, and company, foundation and private funds raised through the Friends of Ganondagan. This new art center
will be near the site's historic replica longhouse. Jemison said they needed a permanent building to ensure that the Ganondagan Historic Site would indeed
have the ability to remain open far into the future.
Which brings us to the animated film from the Iroquois Creation
Story, an element which will welcome visitors which help
introduce people to the
Iroquois/Haudenosaunee/Seneca cultures, beliefs and worldview. A cinematic hybrid, the film combines traditional animation with footage of flesh-and-blood
dancers performing in animated settings. The filmmakers have enlisted the skills of the Garth Fagan Dancers (Lion King) located in Rochester and also the
Iroquois Dancers and Singers; the show comes with an original musical score by Brent Michael Davids. The director is Cat Ashworth, who teaches at RIT and who
Jemison has worked with on other video projects.
The show is about 60% complete, says Jemison, having a projected
copy6,000 required to finish it. An Indiegogo campaign has been
established to secure
funding for the last stretch: indiegogo.com/projects/iroquois-creation-story.
Jemison says they're using The Creation Story from J.N.B. Hewitt
who wrote it down after hearing Chief John Arthur Gibson tell it
within the 1890's.
Haudenosaunee scholar, John Mohawk annotated the storyline for a modern audience in his book The parable of Earth Grasper - The Iroquois Creation Story. This
film will be the introductory film visitors might find when they come to the Seneca Art and Culture Center and will also be shown within the Orientation
Theater. Financial support has come in the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation located in Rochester, NY and RIT.
Peter Jemison has existed Turtle Island. He painted and sold
artwork on brown paper bags being an artist in NYC. He had become
the first director of the
American Indian Community House Gallery in NYC, when exhibits there generated considerable buzz in Manhattan along with the evening poetry readings. He was
one of the go-to Artists and Curators for the Iroquois Group Shows around NY State, and have become Education Director for that Seneca Nation. In 1985, he
was invited being the director of Ganondagan.
Though his Ganandogan duties take up the majority of his time,
Jemison hasn't stopped becoming an artist, and has worked more in
video and film over the last
10-15 years. One film, The Mahheakantuk in Focus, interprets Henry Hudson's journey up the Hudson River and also the meaning behind the 1613 Treaty between
your Dutch and the Haudenosaunee, called The Two Row Wampum/Guswenta, whose symbology depicts a journey of mutual respect and mutual coexistence without
interference from the other. Jemison also recently filmed a documentary at Lida Daidaihua Original Ganondagan, which depicts his father's desire to lose weight (due to diabetes) and
also to reach his personal objective of accumulating the steep embankment at Ganondagan while carrying a sack of corn on his to the summit of the palisaded
corn granary that once housed the Seneca's sacred gift of corn. Certainly one of Peter's first video projects was a beautiful little video installed in a
dark room at the Museum of recent Arts in Santa Fe Ten years ago that told a tale without narrative, just using visual and audio effects. Titled "Wiping Away
the Tears" it would be a post-911 film especially for New Yorkers.