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New Mural at LeMoyne Elementary Embraces Native American Culture and Local History

Marlee Tuskes

A new mural will now greet students and visitors as they enter Syracuse’s LeMoyne Elementary School. The mural depicts the five Native American nations coming together to create the Haudenosaunee confederacy.  Andy Mager with neighbors of the Onondaga Nation says the mural will help to educate residents about the history that happened right in their own backyard.

“Unfortunately some of that history has been less than praise worthy, but in recent years that has been a real effort to do exactly what they are doing here at LeMoyne Elementary," Mager said. "To teach people accurate history and to respect the differences between our cultures and to figure how we work together peacefully and cooperatively”

Mural artist Brandon Lazore of the Onondaga Snipe Clan describes the scene.

On the shores of Onondaga Lake is where the confederacy was formed. Right here, this is The Peacemaker holding five arrows.  The Peacemaker is explaining to the chiefs about the confederacy that is being formed. This is the formation of the Confederacy right now this is what you’re looking at.”

Credit Marlee Tuskes / WAER News

Native American Studies instructor Kathleen Thomas says the mural describes their culture before the arrival of the Europeans.

“This is our culture right here of our dress. Our laws were made her in the beginning. We were here in the beginning. It just says a lot about, from day one, how we all came together.”

Interim Superintendent Jaime Alicea says history will greet children as they pass by the mural.

This is not something that the kids will have to go and open a book to find out about what history is all about. They will walk in these hallways and they will see history right in front of their eyes”

Nick Stamoulacatos is Supervisor of Social Studies for the school district.

“It is extremely important that we have this. That we teach history outside actually beyond the textbooks and this actually gives voice to all indigenous peoples not only in our district, but across the world”.  

Hear artist Brandon Lazore describe his mural.

Credit Marlee Tuskes / WAER News