Native American Arts and Culture Festival at Colgate Saturday


TRADITIONAL DANCE — Walter John of the Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers performs. (Photo by Stephanie Shultes)

NATIVE ARTS — Alida Perez, a Maya weaver performs her craft at the Native American Arts and Culture Festival. (Photo by Pat Kane)

HAMILTON — Colgate University’s annual Native American Arts and Culture Festival will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

The festival celebrates Native American culture with music and dance performances, art and archaeology demonstrations, handmade Native American items and traditional foods for sale, and more. The festival is free and open to the public. It will take place indoors, rain or shine, at the Sanford Field House on Route 12-B.

Music and dance acts take place all day, with plenty of seating for all. The Onondaga-based troupe Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers includes many young dancers performing traditional Iroquois social dances in which the audience is invited to participate. Alan Cleveland, a well-known Mohawk/Cree performer, will play traditional flute music. Back by popular demand is the Native American blues band, Corn Bred.

The festival includes a craft market, in which vendors from various indigenous cultures and communities offer a wide array of unique items for sale including jewelry, pottery, baskets, leatherwork, dolls, woodenware, weavings, musical instruments and more. Artists also offer sculpture in stone, antler, and clay, as well as prints and paintings. Purchases from the Native American artists support their efforts to maintain the vitality of traditional culture and art.

Special craft demonstrations include lacrosse stick making, stone sculpture, pottery, basket weaving, antler carving, and back strap loom weaving. Displays of Iroquois archaeological materials, cultural objects, and wampum belts will take place all day.

While visitors browse and chat with the artists and performers, they may also sample traditional Iroquois corn soup and fry bread, made-to-order Indian tacos, venison sandwiches and other foods, which will be available for purchase throughout the day.

The festival is family-friendly, with children’s activities taking place in the festive "Children’s Corner" just inside the entrance. Young children may enjoy coloring and making traditional corn husk dolls, paper canoes, and bead bracelets with the help of Colgate students. Visitors may register at the welcome table to win one of the door prizes, which will be given away throughout the day.

The Native American Arts and Culture Festival is organized by the Longyear Museum of Anthropology in cooperation with Colgate University’s Native American Studies Program, Native American Student Association, Upstate Institute, Core Communities and Identities, Sociology and Anthropology Department, and ALANA Cultural Center. For more information contact Carol Ann Lorenz at 228-7184, or clorenz@colgate.edu.