GATHON INC. will host the annual Gathering at the Heart of Niagara Saturday, June 20, in parking lot No. 3 on Goat Island, Niagara Falls State Park.
The Gathering is based on the mission to promote, support and share indigenous cultural and living traditions with all peoples.
This will be the fourth annual Gathering event, providing a smoke dance and hand drum competition, along with Native American arts, crafts and foods.
The event hosts 20 American Indian artists from federally recognized or state recognized nations within the U.S. and Canada. A Haudenosaunee dance, the smoke dance, will bring native dancers from the Six Nations: Seneca, Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga and Tuscarora.
Dancers (tots, children, men and women of several age groups) will compete twice during the day to qualify for prize winnings. The first round of dance competition will start at noon and the second round of dance competition will start at 5 p.m.
There will be other major events at the Gathering, as well, starting with the Sunrise Ceremony at Goat Island's Terrapin Point, hosted by MaryLou Smoke, at approximately 5:35 a.m.
Smoke is a member of the Ojibway Nation from Blind Rover, Ontario, and is a writer, singer, guitarist and traditional drummer.
At noon, the Gathering's opening ceremony will commence, featuring the North American Iroquois Veterans Association presenting the colors and honoring all veterans, from all walks of life.
Food vendors will feature "fry bread" and "Indian tacos" from the best cooks in the Nation.
Proceeds from several activities at the event will benefit funding of next year's Gathering.
To participate in the event as a dancer, drummer, volunteer or patron or for additional information, go to the Gathering at Niagara Facebook page, or email [email protected].