“Goon Whi O Di It Sa” or Peach Stones

Thomas J. Dorsey Jr. (Tom Two Arrow) (1920-1993)
Date: 1942
Medium: Gouache on composition board
Dimensions: 20 H x 16 W

Inscribed lower left: “Goon.Whi.O.Di.It.Sa” or Peach Stones

Inscribed lower right: “DORSEY”

Credit: Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase
Accession Number: 1942.93.10

This is one of seventeen paintings called Iroquois Games and Dances by Thomas J. Dorsey, Jr., also known by his Native American name, Tom Two Arrows. Dorsey was a member of the Delaware (Lenni-Lenapee) tribe adopted by the Onondagas (an Iroquois tribe). While working on this series, Dorsey spent six weeks on the Onondaga reservation near Syracuse. He hoped to reveal to the broader American public the richness and vitality of traditional Iroquois culture that he knew firsthand. With its use of bright, decorative colors and compositions based on patterning and symmetry, Dorsey's style shows a savvy blending of elements from traditional Native American arts and modernist abstraction. The sport shown here—lacrosse—is a traditional Iroquois game that has been adopted by other groups.