Lakeshore High Students Create Amazing Mural

Recently, two students from Lake Shore High School created a mural displaying Haudenosaunee culture.  Melanie Gates (Class of 2016) and Olivia White (Class of 2017) were selected to participate in the 10th Annual Global Mural Conference held in Rochester, NY this past September.


Mural Artists Melanie Gates (Class of 2016) and Olivia White (Class of 2017)

The 16’ x 7’ mural was created to display Haudenosaunee culture. In this artwork, the students portrayed how traditional aspects of their culture have become more modern. The concept of the piece is to show how traditional aspects of Haudenosaunee culture have become more modern while maintaining its common characteristics. One such contemporary feature of the mural is represented by a woman smoke dancing, something that has traditionally been a men’s dance.
Another example is the four girls playing lacrosse. Historically, the game of lacrosse was used as a way to resolve conflicts between tribes without going to war, and only men were allowed to participate. The girls even incorporated images of their fellow Lake Shore High School lacrosse teammates from the 2016 sectional championship team!


The mural was featured during the 2016 Global Mural Conference in a temporary display and will now be permanently installed on a building along the Erie Canal as part of the Erie Canal Heritage Mural Expo. Melanie and Olivia hope it expands an awareness of Native American art, culture, laws, and sovereignty, especially in Western New York.

Haudenosaunee is the general term used instead of “Iroquois.” The word “Iroquois” is not a Haudenosaunee word. It is derived from a French version of a Huron Indian name that was applied to Haudenosaunee ancestors and it was considered derogatory, meaning “Black Snakes.” Haudenosaunee means “People building an extended house” or more commonly referred to as “People of the Long House.” The longhouse was a metaphor introduced by the Peace Maker at the time of the formation of the Confederacy, meaning that the people are meant to live together as families in the same house. Today this means that those who support the traditions, beliefs, values and authority of the Confederacy are to be know as Haudenosaunee.
For more information about the Confederacy of the Five Nations, please check out this link.