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Longtime Ganondagan State Historic Manager Peter Jemison has retired

 Peter Jemison, the first Ganondagan State Historic Site Manager in Victor, who has retired after 35 years.
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Peter Jemison, the first Ganondagan State Historic Site Manager in Victor, who has retired after 35 years.

The longtime site manager of Ganondagan, the state historic site in Victor, has retired. The announcement was made Friday that Peter Jemison retired from that role as of Feb. 1.

Jemison started in 1985 as the first site manager for that Native American cultural facility which has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Jemison, 77, will be succeeded by two individuals in two positions:

Ansley Jemison (Seneca, Wolf Clan), Peter Jemison's son, who will be Cultural Liaison, and Michael Galban (Washoe/Northern Paiute), who will be Site Manager.

Peter Jemison said that, “It has been an honor to be the first Historic Site Manager of Ganondagan. It has been the greatest learning experience of my life. Ganondagan gave me the opportunity to work with creative people in film, exhibit design, architecture, art and dance.”

Jemison was a driving force behind the building of a full-size, Seneca Bark Longhouse replica in 1998, and the Seneca Art & Culture Center in 2015, which is a year-round interpretive facility that tells the story of the Seneca and Haudenosaunee contributions to art, culture and society.

A former elected leader of the Seneca Nation, Todd Gates, said that he enjoyed working with Jemison on creating the vision he shared, and Gates said that, “I've always said we have to keep educating the world on what it is to be Seneca and, in a larger sense, Haudenosaunee. Ganondagan will continue to do that, and the changes will inspire the young and old to learn our history.”

Peter Jemison said that he will now focus on his art. His paintings, videos and mixed media works have been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and several other countries.

Jemison said that he’s also excited about a wampum exhibit that he has been working on, in conjunction with a museum in Paris. Jemison said there will be an exhibit installed in France, and about a year from now, that wampum exhibit will be shown for several months at Ganondagan.

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Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.