November is Native American Heritage Month and Old Fort Niagara is celebrating by hosting a series of special programs.
On Nov. 5, 6 and 12, the fort will offer workshops on traditional Native American skills, such as finger weaving, cornhusk twining, beadwork, quillwork and basketry. The cost of each workshop is $40, and all necessary materials are provided. A full list of workshops and scheduling information is available on the fort's website www.oldfortniagara.org, or by calling 745-7611.
On Nov. 19, the fort will host Native Heritage Day with a potluck dinner at 5 pm. Attendees are asked to bring a dish from their heritage to share. Following the dinner, at 6:30 p.m., there will be a social with Native-style dancing. To RSVP or obtain more information, contact Belinda Patterson, assistant program manager, at 745-7611, ext. 226.
All programs will be held at the Fort Niagara Officers Club.
While Fort Niagara is often seen as a European fort, the site has a rich Native heritage. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, native people used the site as a hunting and fishing camp. During the 18th century, natives lived, traded and forged alliances at the fort. In 2009, Old Fort Niagara initiated a regular program of native interpretation to share previously hidden native stories with about 70,000 visitors a year. The fort now presents programs on Native American heritage at the historic site and as outreach programming available to schools and community organizations.