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A Brief History of Okwari Arts


In 1981, my father and mother, Andrew and Gladys Delisle, (pictured above) started the craft business known as Okwari, motivated to respond to the need for accurate and accessible information about native culture.  In response to the success of this new venture, what started simply as a space in the garage of their home, Okwari, moved to a more accessible and larger location in a grand log building located on a major highway in Kahnawake.

 Visitors came from around the world to experience the beauty of a Mohawk family, community and culture. The purchase of authentic native crafts assured buyers that they had carried away a bit of living history and surely had had their world views enriched.

Since that time I have become responsible to continue the legacy of my parents. I am determined to maintain the quality and atmosphere of a uniquely Mohawk enterprise, one that encourages native craftsmanship and offers these craftsmen opportunities to do what they do best.  My mother has since passed on to the spirit world. You may be fortunate to meet my father, now in his 80s, when he visits the shop. He is still a prominent figure in Indian country and has definitely made his mark in non-native society too.

On behalf of my family, I take this opportunity to thank you for visiting our business via our online store and I offer my hope that you will take the opportunity to visit the store here in Kahnawake. The experience will be as wonderful for you as it will for me.

 Peace to you and your family.

Lynn Delisle

About Rapid Water Gallery

Rapid Water Studio Gallery was founded as an outgrowth of the artistic activities of Kakwirakeron R. Montour in order to promote his own work as well as that of other Native artists working in the eastern woodlands region of North America. Of particular interest is the work of Iroquois artists.

Located in the heart of the historic Kahnawake Mohawk Territory on the Old Malone Highway, Rapid Water Gallery invites visitors to come spend time experiencing the culture and art of the Mohawk people. Kakwirakeron R. Montour maintains his studio on the premises of Rapid Water Gallery, where the artist accepts commissions for special projects and portraits as well as pursuing his own projects. Instruction in drawing and painting on an individual and small group basis is available.

Since 2012 Lynn Delisle and Kakwirakeron R Montour combined their two ventures into one location - Okwari Arts - Rapid Water Gallery. We cordially invite one and all to visit and see what we have to offer. Niawen kowa.

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