Teiakwanahstahsontéhrha’ | We Extend the Rafters | Nous tendons les perches (2017) is an installation composed of three major elements: a machinima titled The Peacemaker Returns, a structure called Longhouse of the Future, and a series of beaded works called Wampum Belts of the Future. The title refers to the action of lengthening the longhouse to make room for new generations or other families. The phrase encompasses the broader notion of acceptance and inclusion.
The luminescent structure echoes the traditional dwelling while providing a place for people to gather to watch The Peacemaker Returns, a sci-fi retelling of the formation of the famous Iroquois Confederacy (or Haudenosaunee). From a spaceship in 3025, a young Mohawk woman named Iotetshèn:’en participates in a peace delegation that intends to use ancient Haudenosaunee teachings to form an alliance with several alien nations.
Throughout the movie can be seen wampum belts, including the well-known historic Two-Row. As part of the installation, I created five physical (not virtual) belts that represent a continuum of peacemaking, from the belt that commemorates the Confederacy, to belts that I imagined might be designed in the future, such as the Empowerment Belt (modelled on the historic Friendship Belt), the Five-Row, and the Intergalactic Empowerment Belt.
Commissioned by Vox for their children’s exhibition series, this work toured Canada (plus a stop in upper New York State) from 2017 until 2023. It is in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.