Artist Statement

For 138 years this school has robbed us of our languages, for nearly another 50 years we are recovering from this loss.  I am Mohawk, and like the majority of Mohawks in my community we cannot speak it.  My great grandmother attended this place in 1918 she was fluent in both Mohawk and Cayuga. With the exception a few phrases, these languages stopped with her.  This piece Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen (The Thanksgiving Address) is about that loss. 

From September 14 - September 18, 216 - On the lengthy drive way leading up to the Mohawk Institute participants will be asked to write in chalk and in an English alphabet the words of the Thanksgiving Address.  This address is a call to the people to gather, to bring their minds together, to be thankful, and acknowledge the many blessings this life offers us.

 

I wish to thank Joslyn Jamieson for lending her beautiful voice for the audio component of this piece, and for being an understanding ear with my many questions. With much appreciation, Nya:weh.

 

For the audio component of this piece, click here: ohenton kariwatehkwen 2016

 

For more info on the artist, click here: Naomi Johnson