Welcome: The first exhibit that visitors encounter upon entering the Center explains the concept and meaning of the word Skä•noñh – a welcome greeting meaning peace and wellness, but also a state of being. A short film features Haudenosaunee individuals talking about what Skä•noñh means to them. An interactive touchpad station enables visitors to learn more about the people in the films.
Thanksgiving Address: This section explores the aspects of the Thanksgiving Address and the ways that the Haudenosaunee give thanks to the different elements of the environment. The goal of this section is to share the Haudenosaunee perspective on being thankful, and to have the visitor reflect upon what they are thankful for, as well as to re-examine their own relationship to nature.
Creation: This exhibit explains how the world came to be according to the Haudenosaunee. Paintings by Haudenosaunee artist Arnold Jacobs reinforce the message told in this section’s text panels and film. A turtle sculpture created by the famous Haudenosaunee stone worker Tom Huff is a featured artifact in this exhibit. The sculpture of the turtle contains a depiction of the Tree of Peace with each of the Haudenosaunee clan animals represented among its branches.
The Great Law of Peace: As visitors transition from the first floor to the second floor, they will learn the story of the Peacemaker and his helpers Jikonsaseh and Hiawatha, as they work to overcome the fearsome Tadodaho to unite the five original nations of the Haudenosaunee. The significance of Wampum and the story and symbolism of the Tree of Peace are also explained in this section.
Contact: This section explores the controversial subject of European-Native American contact, with an emphasis on the Haudenosaunee experience of contact. Several treaties are highlighted, including the Two Row Wampum and Canandaigua. The devastating impact of the Doctrine of Discovery, Sullivan Clinton Campaign, and boarding schools are also discussed.
Continuance and Contribution: The final permanent exhibit section shows the story of the Haudenosaunee is one of resistance, resilience, and survival. Despite many attempts to remove them from their homeland, they remain strong in their original belief system and oral history tradition. This gallery also highlights the many different ways that the Haudenosaunee have contributed to the American way of life.