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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Visiting the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum

Seneca-Iroquois National Museum - Salamanca New York
The Seneca-Iroquois National Museum is a historic museum located in Salamanca New York. When you visit this museum you'll learn all about the Seneca people (Hodinosonih people). You can experience Native culture, see contemporary and historic indigenous art and see a real 17th century Longhouse.

The museum is open year round with separate summer and winter hours. Admission is $7.00 per adult, $4.00 for elders and $3.00 for kids ages 7-17 years of age. If you're traveling in groups, they do offer special group rates and parking is free. You can visit their website for a complete operating schedule and a list of their special events. Cameras are basically NOT allowed inside.
Seneca-Iroquois National Museum

Right in front of the building you'll find a large river rock with five indentations in it, along with an information/educational plaque. This large mortar river stone came from the Allegheny River and they believe that the Seneca women used to use it when shucking down corn and grinding it. The New York State Transportation Department moved the mortar stone to it's present location in front of the museum.

When you enter the building you'll be standing in their gift ship where you'll pay your admission to enter the museum. We had a guided-tour and I have to admit, our tour guide was absolutely FANTASTIC at showing us all of the exhibits and explaining them to us. He was extremely knowledgeable and even gave us some background on his own Native ancestors and roots.
Seneca-Iroquois National Museum - Salamanca New York

The first exhibit we got to see was one with realistic animals that play an important part in Native culture and in naming all of the different clans. This is called "The Why Animals Exhibit". Example: Bear, Deer, Turtle, Heron, etc. I found this to be extremely interesting in how the clans are named, how important each animal is to the clan and within Native culture itself.
Seneca-Iroquois National Museum - LONGHOUSE

We then moved on to the LONGHOUSE which was really a site-to-see! The Seneca people used to live in these LONGHOUSES and you would have several family members living together. When a marriage occurred, the new spouse would move-in to the female's family house. In Native culture, the woman is the matriarch and held in high regard, very well-respected by the men.

The next area showed us some of the athletic games that they used to play and some are still played today. Lacrosse, Snow Snake (a stick game that is played in the snow, reminded me of snow bowling but instead of a bowling ball, they used finely-crafted sticks), and so forth. Our tour guide even gave us a demonstration on how the stick was held and launched in the snow and down the icy-snow track. These type's of games helped them to get physical exercise, to hone-in on their warrior skills and I believe, to help relieve stress.
Seneca-Iroquois National Museum - Salamanca New York

We then moved on to the "This is Where We Walked" exhibit which really gave us some good history facts on where they came from, how they lived over the past years and brings you up to the current place and time. One thing you won't read in history books (or in a LOT of history books) is how the United States government swindled a lot of land from them and did so under false pretenses. The native people lost their homes, land and lifestyle. It was really upsetting to me to learn of this past history and I'm glad that the government has taken some steps (but not enough) over the past few decades to correct some of this. A lot more needs to be done!
Seneca-Iroquois National Museum - Salamanca New York

As you walk through the museum it's very peaceful and quiet, at least it was on the day we visited and we were the ONLY guests there. We found it to be educational and relaxing. There are a ton of great exhibits for you to see, other than the one's that I've featured above. If you love Native American art, you'll find some gorgeous artwork featured in this museum that you've got to see!
Seneca-Iroquois National Museum - Salamanca New York

The Seneca-Iroquois National Museum is located on 814 Broad Street in Salamanca New York. You can reach the museum at (716) 945-1760 for more information. If you're looking for hotel accommodations, we recommend the Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino which is within walking distance of the museum.

Disclosure: We were given complimentary admission into the museum as part of a press/media tour. We were allowed to take just a few photographs to show our readers what the museum is like. However, they do NOT permit cameras/photographs inside. Our thoughts and opinions about our visit are 100% our own. Your's may differ. 

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