New Exhibit Opens in March at Ganondagan’s Seneca Art & Culture Center


“Hodinöhsö:ni’ Women: From the Time of Creation” Opens March 24

A timely new exhibit at Ganondagan State Historic Site opens to the public on Saturday, March 24, 2018. “Hodinöhsö:ni’ Women: From the Time of Creation” examines the many ways in which Hodinöhsö:ni’ women have acted as positive forces in our world, and provides a glimpse into their complex and sophisticated way of life. As the exhibit unfolds, it demonstrates that, from the time of Creation to the present, Hodinöhsö:ni’ women continue to provide guidance, wisdom, healing, joy, sustenance, hope, peace and love to the world. 

“There is a strong connection between the American suffrage movement and the Hodinöhsö:ni’,” noted Seneca Art & Culture Center Curator and Interpretive Programs Assistant Michael Galban. “Using Hodinöhsö:ni’ art, both historic and contemporary, this exhibit outlines the reasons why Hodinöhsö:ni’ people—and particularly Hodinöhsö:ni’ women—have had an impact on the way we, as modern people, regard access to justice and find balance.”

The exhibit—the first new addition since the opening of the Seneca Art & Culture Center in 2015—touches on five important moments in time when Hodinöhsö:ni’ women have had a major impact. The exhibit is designed to help the viewer consider all the ways, throughout history, in which Hodinöhsö:ni’ women have appeared and worked to sustain their culture of equity, justice and the power of thinking with a “good mind,” and how they continue to be a model for the world.

The five exhibit sections are:

  • Women in Creation. According to the Hodinöhsö:ni’ Creation Story, women are the pathway to unfolding life here on Mother Earth. These feminine elements continue to inspire Hodinöhsö:ni’ artists with the power and beauty of their message.
  • Jigöhsahsë’ – The Mother of Nations.  Long ago, Jigöhsahsë’ lived along the “warriors path” between the Seneca and their direct western neighbors the Kahkwa, the Erie and the Petun. The first person to embrace the Peacemaker’s message, Jigöhsahsë’ was instrumental in the formation of the Iroquois Confederacy.
  • Akino’ënh, “Our Mothers.” At the time of Ganondagan (17th century), and throughout the colonial period, Hodinöhsö:ni’ women have guided and sustained their people as leaders in agriculture, maternity, spirituality and government.
  • Sisters in Spirit. Largely ignored and untold, history has recorded the impact that Hodinöhsö:ni’ women and culture had on the minds of the leaders of the Women’s Rights movement in the United States. Leaders like Matilda Joselyn Gage, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony had direct and personal contact with Hodinöhsö:ni’ women which had a significant positive impact on their fight for equality.
  • Walking in Two Worlds. Seven powerful examples of contemporary Hodinöhsö:ni’ women are featured here, demonstrating how they have chosen to make a difference in our world.

“It’s an honor to be included among the stories of our Hodinöhsö:ni’ women,” said Michelle Schenandoah (Oneida, Wolf Clan), an inspirational writer, speaker, thought leader and one of the seven women featured in the “Walking in Two Worlds” section of the exhibit. “Take time to learn what it means to be a lifegiver from our Hodinöhsö:ni’ point of view; this is the sacred role of being of a woman—which the United States omitted in the formation of its government that is based on our Hodinöhsö:ni’ life ways.”

Interpretive tours on Saturday, March 24 will be ongoing, and additional related programs will be featured. The new exhibit will be open for regular hours that day from 9 am to 4:30 pm, and then will follow regular Seneca Art & Culture Center hours, Tuesdays through Sundays. Winter admission to the Center (through April 30) including the Iroquois Creation Story film, is $6/adults; $3/seniors and students 12 years-college; $1/children 5-11; and free / children below 5 years of age and for Friends of Ganondagan members.

The exhibit designer is Johnson/Hehr Associates and exhibit fabricator is Hadley Exhibits. Ganondagan State Historic Site recognizes Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, Ongweohweh Corporation, Seneca Nation of Indians, Anonymous, and Dr. Gerard and Judy Buckley for their generous support.

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