The Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne has a long history in Hogansburg, New York, but its cultural artifacts have been relegated to a space in the basement of the Akwesasne Museum. Now, a new Heritage Center, museum, library, archives and visitor’s center are on the way, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced Thursday (June 20). The cultural center will be built with funding from a recent NEA grant, which includes a $25,000 award to the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne for the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to create projects to support local artists developing public art and workshops that recognize and highlight Akwesasne Mohawk culture.
“The new Heritage Center would provide a facility with proper climate control, storage and preservation space, and displays that would really give the respect and platform for us to showcase to the world—and also ourselves—the rich history that we have and who we are today,” Gail McDonald, the center’s development manager and board member for the Council and Akwesasne Department of Health, told the NEA. With the new site, “We won’t have to go outside of the community to find [our historic artifacts]. I can look at them at home, and my grandchildren can see these things and learn from them and understand what they represent to our people,” McDonald said.