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June 17 in Artpark lower park & ‘Niagara 1979 Painted Parking Lot’
√ DJ Shub to headline evening concert with featured indigenous musicians from across North America, plus smoke dance competition, Indigenous artists, Native American artisan market
Artpark & Company’s Strawberry Moon Festival will return Saturday, June 17. Admission to the afternoon activities (1-6 p.m.) in Artpark’s lower park is free. Tickets for the featured evening performances beginning at 6 p.m. outside in the “Niagara 1979 Painted Parking Lot” and stage are $20, on sale at the box office and ticketmaster.com. Chairs and blankets will be allowed for the concert and performances.
A press release stated, “The Strawberry Moon Festival is a truly immersive experience for everyone to celebrate the diverse indigenous cultures of North America through storytelling, teachings, music, dance, and the Native American artisan market . Guests will participate in an inclusive and engaging Native American community gathering where they can make, craft and participate with various indigenous activities. They will also be entertained by an eclectic lineup of artists performing on multiple stages.
“This year’s The Strawberry Moon Festival celebrates the heartbeat of Mother Earth and the heartbeat of our life by introducing a new performance called ‘The Circle: Indigenous singer-songwriters and Musicians Showcase."
Images from the 2022 Strawberry Moon Festival at Artpark in Lewiston.
Curator Michele-Elise Burnett (Métis/Algonquin, Bear Clan), Artpark & Company’s Indigenous arts producer, said, "Using their voice and their instruments as their tools to construct stories for the rest of the world to feel and hear, the stories range from powerful, sad, to humorous and playful. No matter the story or song, their concert always creates a unique sense of community, sharing and healing, which will leave you uplifted and amazed by the magic of the lyrics and storytelling by these artists.”
Featuring traditional drums, Nashville Haudenosaunee country singer-songwriter musician Jim Jacobs, Huron-Wendat Nation internationally recognized violinist Genevieve Gros-Louis Salamone and Stephanie Big Eagle, Lakota and Dakota, will honor youth smoke dancer winners with a special show. Local award-winning Tuscarora musician and singer-songwriter Tonemah and his band will shake the stage with original music to close out the afternoon program.
At 1 p.m., the festival marketplace opens in Artpark’s lower park (South Fourth Street entrance). Organizers said there will be a wide variety of free, interactive programs at the Emerald Grove Stage and Artpark's Native American Peace Garden.
The press release stated, “These programs celebrate diverse and expressive Native American cultures through the arts; food sampling; storytelling; workshops; music presentations; the interactive make, play and take home Indigenous Ways of Knowing Discovery Zone; wampum beading workshops; one of the U.S.’ largest Wampum belts collection will be on display; beading workshops; face painting; a unity bracelet workshop; and lacrosse.”
It added, “The ever-popular and mesmerizing smoke dance competition continues this year with both youth and adult division. Visitors can also discover unique gifts from our Native American artisans and food market.”
Admission to the afternoon activities is free.
At 6 p.m. Artpark’s “Painted Parking Lot” will come alive with a special opening with Genevieve Gros-Louis Salamone and Stephanie Big Eagle, who blend traditional dance, hand drum and classical violin.
The press release noted this event will encourage “adults and youth alike to connect to the stories of the (Turtle Island) indigenous peoples of the Americas.”
Closing the Strawberry Moon Festival is a concert headlined by DJ Shub, “the Godfather of PowWowStep,” a three-time Juno Award winner, Much Music and Canadian Screen Award-winner, and one of the founding members of Tribe Called Red. He will take to the stage at 7 p.m. with his show that blends traditional drum with modern day electronic beats and hip-hop.
The consulate general of Canada in New York, and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Institute are supporting sponsors of the Strawberry Moon Festival.
History of Artpark’s Strawberry Moon Festival
The first Strawberry Moon Festival in 2019 brought back Native American programming to Artpark after a 40-year-plus hiatus. 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.”
In 2020, the festival took a COVID-19 pause, but the Native American Peace Garden came to fruition at Artpark.
The press release 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.”
Then in 2021, the festival, themed “Rekindling our Roots,” returned with performances by Martha Redbone, Lakota John, Charly Lowry and Tonemah, plus a smoke dance competition.
Last summer, the event celebrated the many contributions Native people made in the shaping of this area and the global stage.
The press release stated, “Built on the Two Row Wampum teachings that promote all Nations walk together in parallel, with respect, compassion, and understanding to cultivate an inclusive community for our shared future.”
It concluded by noting, “Artpark has made a commitment to Indigenous arts programming and awareness with a full season of Indigenous programs built for and by our local Indigenous community. Our programming, conceived and curated by Michele-Elise Burnett, serves residents from the Indigenous community in Lewiston, Youngstown and beyond, as well as non-Native persons who are interested in learning more about the culture and traditions.”
Click here for a list of indigenous programs planned for 2023. Visit artpark.net for a current calendar of events.