Ray, Christine, and John Fadden opened the Museum for its first season during the summer of 1954. The wood that went into the lumber of the initial structure was milled at a local saw mill from trees felled by Ray Fadden. The museum, originally two rooms large, expanded to four rooms producing a building approximately 80' x 20'. The Museum's design reflects the architecture of a traditional Haudenosaunee (Six Iroquois Nations Confederacy) bark house. The long bark house is a metaphor for the Six Nations Confederacy, symbolically stretching from East to West across ancestral territory. The Mohawks are the Keepers of the Eastern Door, the Senecas are the Keepers of the Western Door, the Onondagas are the Fire Keepers and the Oneidas, Cayugas, and Tuscaroras (admitted into the Confederation in the early 18th century) are the Younger Brothers.

The Museum houses a myriad of pre-contact, and post-contact artifacts, contemporary arts and crafts, diagrammatic charts, posters, and other items of Haudenosaunee culture. The objects within the Museum are primarily representative of the Haudenosaunee, but there are representations of other Native American cultures as well. There are many objects within the museum. The floors are decorated with Haudenosaunee symbol & motif, and within the rooms are cases exhibiting artifacts. The walls are laden with informative charts, beaded belts, paintings and other indigenous items of interest. Up into the peaked ceiling of each room are representations of Native America as they are covered with artifacts including canoes, baskets, tools, beadwork, feathered headgear, Native clothing, and posters.

The Museum is open on a regular basis during the summer months, and is staffed by Fadden family members. Additionally, during the late Spring, and early Fall, the Museum is open by appointment. Visitors are treated to a visual feast of Native American material supplemented with a series of lectures geared toward the situation, and needs of the audience. Pictographic stories are read, descriptions of contributions of Native Peoples to contemporary society are expressed, and the telling of the epic story of the formation of the Haudenosaunee form of participatory government occurs.

Our goals in respect to the Museum are multiple. First, we want to educate the general public about Haudenosaunee culture. Sometimes visitors come from such continents as Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Americas, lending a special inter-cultural flavor to our exchanges. Visitors to the Adirondack Park often chance upon our museum as they vacation. We are visited by summer camps, various summer education programs, and we have even hosted history/anthropology classes from SUNY Plattsburgh, SUNY Oswego, St. Lawrence University, and Cornell University. The opening of the Adirondack Visitors Interpretive Center in the Spring of 1989 has expanded the number of visitors, because the Center is located about nine miles from the Museum.

Another, equally important goal, is to serve Native Peoples. We present information about Native cultures, and function as a place where traditional values, philosophies, and sensitivities can be reaffirmed. We vehemently stress the importance of maintaining oral tradition coupled with written history for cultural continuity. Native students (and non-students or former students) from such indigenous communities as Akwesasne, Kahnawake, Kanesatake, Oneida, Onondaga, and points west across New York State, and into Canada regularly visit us.

Another goal of the Museum is directed toward educating the public about the Land Ethic of the Haudenosaunee, and other environmental sensitivities. The preservation of the trees, plants, waters, birds, animals, and the very soil of the Earth itself is an objective. The Museum's founder, Ray Fadden, has for years already done this by feeding the ravens, crows, chickadees, chipmunks, squirrels, coyotes, and the bears. This process of nutritional assistance will continue, and the reason for this is that the natural habitat of these animals, and birds has been badly eroded by man-made realities, ie., acid rain, habitat destruction, ozone depletion, over-hunting, and over-fishing to name a few.

We take pride in our existence as a living museum, embodying the values and worldview of a vibrant culture. Many museums appear to have the same goals, but in most cases, they are institutions deeply rooted in western culture, in effect presenting Native American cultures "under glass." Cultural perspective markedly affects the manner in which material is presented. The Six Nations Indian Museum presents its material from a Native American point of view.

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Franklin, TOWN OF FRANKLIN

Town of Franklin
P.O. Box 209, Route 3, Vermontville, NY 12989
Tel: 518-891-2189 - Fax: 518-891-6389


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