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WNYC: Fewer Mohawks are joining the ironworking industry (

"Since the 1900s, the country's most iconic bridges and skyscrapers have been put up by men who risked life and limb to connect steel beams hundreds of feet in the sky. Ironworkers come from all backgrounds, but a small Indian reserve outside Montreal has supplied the U.S. with a proud lineage of Mohawk ironworkers.

But with fewer Mohawks going into the trade, the tradition may be on the wane.

Striding across a steel beam 26 stories in the sky, a lean ironworker grabs the corner column and pulls himself up. What could someday be a corner office on 55th Street in Manhattan is now nothing but open air. It's windless and the sun is bright, a perfect day for putting up steel.

"Like Houdini, he gets up there and disappears," one of the workers says of Kaniehtakeron Martin. "Poof!"

In 2 1/2 hours, the crew lays 68 pieces of steel."

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