Six Nation Indian Museum
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
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.
Town of Franklin
You are the visitor. Thank You for stopping by.