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A Tribute to Ray Fadden

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  • A Tribute to Ray Fadden


    The Akwesasne Elders will host a prestigious cultural event "Celebrating the Ray Fadden Era", on Saturday Onerahtohko:wa / May 8, 2004 from 4-7 p.m. at the St. Regis Recreation Center in Kanatakon, to honor Ray Tehanetorens Fadden, who is a very special person to the people of Akwesasne.

    Ray Fadden has had a multi-generational influence on Akwesasne families whereby they were encouraged to take pride in their cultural heritage as Akwesasronen, as Kanienkehakaronen, Onkwehonwe and as members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

    + Beginning from 4-5 p.m. "Celebrating the Ray Fadden Era" will utilize the space at the St. Regis Recreation Center to display the educational history charts and posters of Ray Fadden that were so helpful to us all in learning our place in history and presenting history from a Native perspective.

    + At 5:50 p.m. an audio visual presentation will have Ray Fadden presenting his "Three Messages" on History, Medicine and Native Contributions to the World.

    + Following these initial presentations, a traditional dinner will be hosted by the Tri District Elders.

    + This will then be followed by an Art Auction by Akwesasne, Haudenosaunee and other Native artists.

    + At 6:30 a special dance program will be performed by Akwesasne Dancers past and present who will re-enact the story dances that Ray Fadden made so popular at Akwesasne and performed by members of the Akwesasne Counsellor Organization such as the Partridge Dance, the Hunter-Deer Dance and the Challenge Dance.

    This tribute to Ray Fadden is a fundraising activity to raise money for the health care of this honored Elder. Ray Fadden is currently a resident at Iakhihsohtha Home for the Elders in Tsi Snaihne. A contribution of $10 per person
    will be charged at the door and all other contributions will be welcome. Fundraising activities throughout the evening will also help to raise the much needed funding.


    Ray Fadden is well known among the Haudenosaunee communities. Since his youth he was always deeply interested in Native history, culture and traditions. He became an educator and began teaching at the elementary school at Tuscarora in the mid-1930s around the same time that he married Christine Chubb of Akwesasne. He then taught at the Mohawk School in Hogansburg starting in 1938.

    He has made it his life's work to teach Native American history, culture and environmental knowledge. He taught at Akwesasne for several years, and his unorthodox style of teaching saw him taking students to various historic places in North America, learning first hand about Native American history. He also started a Native youth cultural awareness organization called the Akwesasne Mohawk Counselor Organization, which was comparable to the Boy Scouts. The group's concentration was on Native American history and culture.

    Ray also produced forty educational charts and approximately twenty pamphlets concerning Native history and culture. He started the Six Nations Indian Museum in Onchiota, N.Y., in the Adirondack Mountains in 1954, and he left the St. Regis Mohawk School in 1957. Ray and his family have operated this museum for 49 years. Tens of thousands of tourists from all over the world have learned from Ray Fadden during this period.

    From the 1930s to end of the 1990s, Ray Fadden has dedicated his life to educating Native and non-Native people about the true history of Native North American people.


    Today, Ray Fadden is 93 years old and suffering the on-set of dementia disease. He can no longer look after himself. His son and wife have been looking after him for the last few years and they can no longer provide the 24 hour a day medical care he deserves. A decision was made to have him brought to Akwesasne and place him in the Iakhihsohtha Seniors Nursing home in the Quebec portion of Akwesasne.

    There were problems bringing him to Canada because he was not registered as a Status Mohawk Indian, therefore Canada classified him as a non-Native U.S. immigrant, and not eligible for any benefits from Health Canada. Regardless, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne admitted him.

    His family is paying for his stay and care solely from his Social Security and retirement pension. The time that he devoted to teaching and running the Museum left him very little by way of any retirement benefits. The monthly cost for his stay is over $3,000 a month. His pension converted to Canadian funds equals $2,000, and the difference is approximately $1,000 a month.

    Friends and family from the Community have committed themselves to raise the difference through fundraising activities, which will include Silent Auctions, Sales from Arts/Crafts, benefit dances, both modern/traditional, and dinners.

    If you are able to contribute in some manner to this worthwhile effort, it would be greatly appreciated.

    VOLUME 22 - NUMBER 16
    APRIL 22, 2004 EDITION
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

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