Akwasasne   image index  /  statement
While photographs can accurately depict people and places, I was disturbed to learn that many photographic portfolios of Native Americans consist of posed portraits and romanticized scenarios. In order to explore the tension between real and fictive archives I visited a friend on the Akwasasne Mohawk Reservation bringing along historic examples of Native American photographs. We spent a week exploring the local landscape and talking to other members of the tribe. The photographs were fantastic conversation starters and over the ensuing days, and through subsequent visits, I came to better understand the reality of Mohawks living today.

Approximately eight thousand Mohawk Indians live on the Akwasasne Mohawk Reservation which straddles the St. Lawrence River on the border of the United States and Canada. The community, unfortunately, is subject to an incredible amount of pollution produced by a local GM plant and other heavy industries. The recent opening of a casino and bingo hall has divided Akwasasne into fierce traditionalists afraid of assimilation and those willing to embrace changes to their way of life. Perhaps most significant for the rest of America, Akwasasne is an open door for smugglers who ferry cigarettes, drugs, weapons, and even people across the St. Lawrence river throughout the year.

Edition info:
19x19" C-prints, printed on 20x24" paper, Edition of 7