Exhibition: Photo Voice- Recent Work by Marjorie Kaniehtonkie Skidders

- Richard F. Brush Art Gallery
Marjorie S24
Looking Into the Future, n.d.

Sometimes I’ll see a random moment taking place, and I’ll visualize how I would like to save it. It sounds kind of like power raking — as if I can save a moment forever. But I can come close by taking a photograph, trying to capture more than the sight of something or someone, but capturing the sounds, the power, the lights, the energy, the emotions, even time. And that is creating a moment from my perspective.

From thousands of years of living on planet earth as Onkwehón:we [original people]—through the arrival of non-Natives, to loss of land, to residential schools, to struggling to revive our language, and clinging to the thread of clan lines that tie us to our past and will guide us into our future. This is what I try to seize — the quiet powerful energy, yet by no means passive — the strength of being Kanien’kehá:ka Mohawk [people of the flint].

The photograph above is called Looking Into the Future, in which symbolism is everything. A young Akwesasne boy wears traditional clothing worn to special events and ceremonies at the longhouse. His breechcloth displays his clan symbol of a bear claw. He wears a kastowa with three feathers, immediately identifying him as Mohawk. He stands among invasive weeds representing the environmental degradation that has affected Mohawks for generations. His sash honors Indigenous children who suffered at residential schools—something his great-grandmother experienced in years past. His is the first generation not to be directly affected by such trauma. Looking forward, he stands on a skateboard — a youthful way to move into the future — strong and resilient.
– Marjorie Kaniehtonkie Skidders, SLU ’79, MA ’90

Marjorie S24
Akhwá:tsire, n.d.


Artist’s lecture with reception to follow
Thursday, March 7, at 5:30 p.m.
Griffiths Arts Center Room 123

Featured in St. Lawrence Magazine
“Kaniehtonkie (Guh-nieh-doon-geh) ‘When the snow is flying, like in a blizzard'”
– Story in English
– Mohawk translation




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