The Creation of the Survivors’ Secretariat Logo
Click the various elements within the logo to discover their meaning.
Click the various elements within the logo, or the buttons below, to discover their meaning.
Footprints surround the logo as a circle, representing the journey of life. The two colours of footprints signify how students entered the institution as children with their cultural beliefs and left as adults, forever changed by the experience, and enmeshed in a cycle they did not create.
The Apple Orchard, which today serves as a symbol of hope and sustenance, is also a reminder of the inhumane treatment of hungry children who were forced to tend to the orchard daily but were never able to receive its nourishment. In fact, children caught “stealing” apples from the very orchard on which they worked faced harsh punishment.
The Woman’s Face represents the parents of children who were taken to the Mohawk Institute (also known as the Mush Hole). The Calmness on the Woman’s Face signifies that, through seeking the truth, there is some peace found in knowing that all the children will be accounted for.
Child Wrapped in a Moss Bag
The location of the Child Wrapped in a Moss Bag signifies how her children are always on her mind, while also representing how the experience of the Mush Hole will forever be in the minds of the children who attended.
The Open Door, illuminated with orange light, represents the Every Child Matters “Akwe’:kon Ratiya’atano:ron ne Ratiksa’okon:’a”* movement as well as the search for truth.
* Mohawk Language Translation
The Staircase leading away from the door signifies Survivors finally being able to leave after the school’s 136-year legacy.
Moccasins sitting on the steps illustrate that, while history appears to be behind us, Survivors’ are still searching for the full truth that will allow them to bring all of the children home and put them to rest.
The Stars represent the Seven Dancers Constellation and the Moon represents our Grandmother, a significant role in the lives of the Hodinohsyonih. She is a measure of time, a regulator of women’s cycles and the holder of the babies before they come to the Earth. Her presence at night is a reminder that she watches over the Survivors’ and their children as they move forward through life.
It’s important to note that the significance of these Stars and Constellations varies from Nation to Nation. However, the children at the Mush Hole were denied these teachings and were disconnected from the beauty of teachings that connected them to all of creation.
About the Artist
Aríhwaiens Martin is Mohawk Bear Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River. His name translates to “He Puts the Issues on The Floor.”
Aríhwaiens has worked on a variety of projects promoting the revitalization of Haudenosaunee people, culture, and languages. He explains, “Because our family was in and out of the Mush Hole, we lost our language and pieces of ourselves a long time ago.”
After high school, Aríhwaiens began to explore his own culture and history. He thought: “What am I going to teach my children about who we are?” This led Aríhwaiens to want to learn his own language and deepen his understanding of his culture.
While attending Mohawk College for graphic design, he was hired at Kawenní:io/Gawení:yo, a Mohawk and Cayuga language immersion private school on Six Nations, as a teacher resource developer.
“It was there that friends and colleagues taught me a lot about our history and our ways, about who’s who, and about our sister territories.”
You can find more of Aríhwaiens’ work on his website.