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More additions to Artpark's Strawberry Moon Festival

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Tue, Jun 4th 2019 10:25 am

New event features Sam Roberts Band, A Tribe Called Red, Alan Doyle, Thunderhead Joe & The Medicine Show in Artpark Amphitheater

A celebration of Native American culture & tradition featuring indigenous art, food, dance, storytelling, workshops

By Artpark & Company

The history of Indigenous peoples in North America is replete with bloodshed, broken treaties and a trail of tears. But amidst the sorrow and suffering, there is a through line of hope, togetherness and reconciliation.

Nothing embodies that more than the Two Row Wampum Belt, which symbolizes the treaty made between the original Five Nations of the Haudenosaunee (Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca) and the Dutch in 1613 in what is now upstate New York. To this day, the belt is used in ceremonies to represent a commitment to walking together, in parallel, with respect, compassion and understanding to cultivate an inclusive community for a shared future.

That message of reconciliation is the central theme of this historic gathering of indigenous performers, craftspeople, teachers and healers at the Strawberry Moon Festival on June 22 at Artpark in Lewiston. The event runs from 3-11 p.m.

Artpark first hosted indigenous powwows and performing arts programs some 40-plus years ago and now invites communities of Western New York and Canada to join together for a day of reawakening and celebrating neighbors and the many people that share this land under the same sky.

As part of “Coors Light Concerts” at Artpark, the festival features three popular Canadian music acts: Sam Roberts Band; indigenous DJ collective A Tribe Called Red; and singer-songwriter Alan Doyle (formerly of Great Big Sea) performing on Artpark’s Amphitheater stage. Native American musician and former Redbone drummer Thunderhead Joe and his The Medicine Show will also perform.

General admission tickets ($28) are on sale now.

In addition to the live music, Artpark is collaborating with Kakekalanicks Indigenous Arts & Consultancy, indigenous community leaders and elders Allan Jamieson Sr. (Cayuga Nation) and Neil Patterson Sr. (Tuscarora Nation) to create the “Celebrate Our Nations” gathering. Festival-goers will experience indigenous art, food, dance, storytelling, hands-on creative workshops, and a mesmerizing and exciting smoke dance competition.

The “Celebrate Our Nations” gathering will begin at 3 p.m. with an official welcome by Jamieson and Patterson, followed by a traditional welcome song and round dance led by Franklyn McNaughton and Jordan Smith. This will be followed by the Social Dance Club at Tuscarora Indian School K-6th, who will share their deep-rooted song and dance traditions. A performance by The Iroquois Indian Marching Band will happen next.

The all-ages interactive dance workshop will be led by Smith and family. Native dance styles, the meaning behind them, and different regalia and songs will be taught.

The festival will host a smoke dance competition open to all nations. Men and women ages 16 and older are eligible to participate.

A smoke dance is an exhibition dance often highlighted at Haudenosaunee socials and festivals. It is derived from an old dance for giving thanks and sometimes performed during droughts to ask the Creator and the Grandfather Thunders to replenish the earth. The smoke dance is a rapid, quickstep dance that is exceedingly fast and difficult, and requires dancers to stop on the very last note of the song.

The Seneca Iroquois National Museum Native American Interactive Discovery Zone will showcase a variety of teachings and workshops, including "Iroquois Ruppet (Rez Puppets) Show." It is a traditional Iroquois story about how not to be vain. Various entertaining Iroquois stories, passed down through generations, will be told by the Ruppets.

Other Strawberry Moon Festival activities include clan games and a paper “bark basket” make-and-take workshop.

“Celebrate Our Nations” will culminate with an Artpark Bridges performance on the amphitheater stage. The program will feature percussionists Cyro Baptista and Griffin Brady leading performers from Empower and People Inc. in collaboration with the Native American community and all festival participants in a two row drum line to signify the spirit of peace, unity, inclusion and friendship.

General admission tickets are on sale. The listed $28 ticket price includes a facility fee. Additional fees apply for online and phone orders. Children ages 12 and under are admitted for free (complimentary tickets can be obtained at the Artpark box office). Tickets can be purchased online at artpark.net, tickets.com, by phone at 1‑888‑223‑6000, or in person at the Artpark box office, 450 S. Fourth St., Lewiston (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday‑Saturday).

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