IACA Journal, Summer 2014 - page 15

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to protect the environment spurs them to stand firm in adher-
ence to the shattered agreements represented in the Two Row
and Washington wampum belts.
Pottery, painting, and sculpture are the various ways in which
Natasha Smoke Santiago, Akwesasne Mohawk, expresses herself,
her culture, and her trepidations. While much of Santiago’s
work celebrates the beauty of her culture and its traditions,
Bread Basket
tackles an immediate and very real threat to Native
With 15% of the adult Native population currently diagnosed
with diabetes, health care providers suggest the disease has
reached “epidemic” proportions after displaying a low incidence
for centuries. Baskets in Haudenosaunee culture, and to an
even greater extent at Akwesasne, are inseparable from identity,
economics, ceremonial, and spiritual traditions. Using such
an iconic symbol of Haudenosaunee resilience and creativity,
Santiago propels the alarming problem to the forefront for dia-
logue. Constructed from Humalog insulin pens rather than ash
splints, Santiago suggests that new things and habits are readily
replacing old ways and that the Haudenosaunee must look to
traditional ways of eating, living, and being in order to restore
health and offset the dangers of a modern diet and its profound
impact on her people.
Ironically, the practice of Mohawk basketry, an art that demands
a balanced and intimate relationship with the natural world is
also threatened. Since its onset in 2002, the Emerald Ash Borer
(an invasive species of beetle common in Asia) has caused the
unhindered loss of 50 million North American ash trees. From
utilitarian packs to award-winning fancy baskets, Black Ash is
Broken Treaties,
Brandon Lazore acrylic on canvas, Iroquois Indian Museum, 2014
1...,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14 16,17,18,19,20
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