June 19 in Artpark Amphitheater
A press release stated, “The Strawberry Moon Festival celebrates the indigenous cultures of the Niagara Region through storytelling, music, dance, and arts and crafts. Guests will participate in an inclusive and engaging Native American community gathering. They’ll also be entertained by an eclectic lineup of Native artists performing in the Artpark Amphitheater – including Martha Redbone, Lakota John, Charly Lowry and Tonemah.”
The first Strawberry Moon Festival in 2019 brought back Native American programming to Artpark after a 40-year-plus hiatus. At the time, more than 3,000 guests participated in and experienced indigenous traditions in song, dance and crafts, forging cross-cultural connections and cross-community relationships that continue to this day.
The 2019 Strawberry Moon Festival at Artpark united people in music, dance, art and culture. (File photo)
In 2020, the festival took a COVID-19 pause, but the Native American Peace Garden came to fruition at Artpark. Artpark stated, “More than just a place to reflect and take in the beautiful setting along the Niagara River, the garden is an outdoor classroom led by Native elders and knowledge keepers.
“In 2021, with the impacts of the pandemic, environmental challenges and a world seeking balance, the need to go back to the original Native American instruction of living in peace, harmony and respect with one another – and all living things – is more vital than ever.”
That’s why this year Artpark has already launched “Spring Awakens at Artpark: Honoring Mother Earth” and “Her Moccasins Talk: Honoring all our Relations,” part of its free site-reactive audio app, “Sonic Trails,” available on Artpark trails.
Artpark’s Indigenous art producer, Michele-Elise Burnett (Métis/Algonquin), who curated both interactive experiences, also curates the Strawberry Moon Festival – and soon even more programs sharing and honoring Native American cultures and teachings.
“Interactive and immersive experiences like ‘Her Moccasins Talk’ and the Strawberry Moon Festival reaffirm Artpark's intention to reawaken the spirit of solidarity amongst friends who once forged history together,” she said. “Collectively, we are creating, designing and curating programs that will convey the meaning, the depth, the substance and significance of Native cultures to American history and society.”
Gates open at 4 p.m., with program beginning 30 minutes later. The program, in order of appearance, includes:
√ Smoke dance competition: Back by popular demand, the smoke dance competition features a rapid quick step dance that is exceedingly fast and difficult, and one that requires dancers to stop on the very last note.
√ “Rekindling our Roots: A Musical Conversation”: Uniting shared histories, the audience will be taken through a musical journey of the history of Tuscarora Nation. The ensemble of renown and award-winning Tuscarora musicians include Darryl Tonemah, Charly Lowry and Lakota John, who will share their historical common ground as they go back to their roots and explore the path that leads them to the present day with storytelling, song and dance.
Tonemah said, “The ‘Rekindling our Roots’ concert is an opportunity to gather, reconnect and create community. Music is a conduit to connection. It is especially important to focus on relationships and the value of one another coming out of COVID season. We have the opportunity to appreciate our shared history and nurture a new history. We suffer in silos and thrive in community.”
Matha Redbone (Images provided by Artpark & Company)
√ Martha Redbone Roots Project: Redbone's music embodies the folk and mountain blues of her childhood in Appalachian Kentucky. Throw in the grit of her teenage years in pre-gentrified Brooklyn, the influence of her gospel-singing father and the spirit of her Cherokee/Choctaw mother, and you’ve got quite a raw and riveting combination. The Huffington Post praised her sound, claiming her music to be, “an organic, gorgeous feast for ears and minds.” The New Yorker called Redbone a “powerful blues and soul singer” and her music a “brilliant collision of cultures.”
Artpark is located at 450 S. Fourth St., Lewiston.
The press release noted, “Artpark is committed to keeping all visitors, employees and artists safe and continues to work closely with New York state officials to revise and implement health and safety protocols. At this time, all activities are subject to New York state COVID-19 guidelines. For details, please visit here. As official local health guidelines evolve regarding COVID-19 safety protocols, Artpark may shift seating configurations and increase capacity.”
Visit artpark.net for more information. Additional event announcements will be coming soon.