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Walking High Steel
Mohawk Ironworkers at the World Trade Towers

Produced by Jamie York and The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson)
Mixed by Jim McKee/Earwax Productions

Ironwalker
Mohawk ironworker Walter Joe Goodleaf working on a Park Avenue skyscraper, 1970.
Photo: David Grant Noble

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  • July 1, 2002 -- The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the George Washington Bridge, the World Trade Center. For more than 120 years, six generations of Mohawk Indian ironworkers, known for their ability to work high steel, have helped shape New York City's skyline. Each week, hundreds of Mohawks have commuted to Manhattan from their reservation in Canada, framing the city's skyscrapers and bridges. In September 2001, after the fall of the Trade Center Towers, the sons and nephews of these men returned to the site to dismantle what their elders had helped to build.

    Thanks to Lynne Beauvais, K103 Kahnawake, Kanien'kehaka Onkwawen:na Raotitiohkwa, National Museum of the American Indian, Elinoar Astrinsky, Elana Berkowitz, City Lore, Tony Field, Andy Lanset, Sound Portraits, Paula Mauro, Jeffrey Jay Foxx, Mike Swamp and Picture Projects.

    Steelworker
    Mohawk Indian ironworker Joe Regis, circa 1960.
    Photo courtesy Bethlehem Steel.

    Other Resources

    To see and hear more, visit the Sonic Memorial Project Web site at www.sonicmemorial.org

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    Copyright 2002 The Kitchen Sisters