(St. Ignace, Michigan) – Celebrating a heritage that is rich in diversity and creativity, St. Ignace’s annual Native American Festival promises to be a thrill for the senses on May 28 and 29, 2016.
Hear the sounds of drums, see the expressive dances, and taste the traditions that were literally hundreds of years in the making – all at this one incredible event. The smell of sacred medicines and the feel of birch bark, porcupine quills and other materials used for both function and artistry are also part of the experience. The event is held on the grounds of the Museum of Ojibwa Culture and festival activities are free to all visitors.
“We invite everyone to participate in the Native American Festival,” said St. Ignace Visitors Bureau Director Gina Stegehuis. “It is truly a unique way to learn about another culture and take in the beauty of its music, artistry and traditions. I know I’m looking forward to it.”
The weekend features four distinctly different workshops focused on a traditional skill. Each begins on Saturday at 10 a.m. and guests may spend all their time in one session or feel free to visit a variety of demonstrations.
With a passion for teaching others, Sally Paquin will share her 26 years of experience as she demonstrates the creation of a quill basket.
Marge Bekins, who has been fascinated by black ash baskets since age 10, will share what she has learned about the creation of these baskets, used for thousands of years by Ojibwe people for a variety of purposes.
Sue St. Onge, a gifted educator, and her daughter, Helena St. Onge Kissinger, will talk about the origins and significance of the dream catcher while demonstrating the art of creating one.
Finally, Charisse Graham will lead children of all ages in a sand art activity, sponsored by the Sault Tribe Youth Education Activities Program.
Drum performances by the Grandmother Moon Singers will be held intermittently between 11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. This talented group sings in both Anishinabeemowin (the Ojibwe language) and English. Take advantage of breaks between performances to ask questions of the group or just sit back and enjoy.
At 1 p.m. on Saturday, the Grand Entry will occur, when everyone is welcomed to celebrate and share Native American culture through dancing, drumming and song. A host drum, veterans carrying flags, and dancers dressed in regalia are all part of this moving performance.
Throughout the afternoon, the Metis Dance Group from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario will be sharing a variety of cultural dances.
“The Metis Dance Group is always a delight,” said Shirley Sorrels, one of the event’s coordinators. “Their Red River Jig is a unique dance created by the Metis people and it combines the complicated footwork of Native dancing with the instruments and form of European music. Your toes won’t stop dancing to their lively music,” she added.
On Sunday morning, a Pipe Ceremony will begin on the museum grounds at 8 a.m., followed by a talking circle. Those who participate will also enjoy a light breakfast and the weekend’s activities will conclude shortly thereafter when the pipe carriers finish the ceremony.
For more information about the event, contact the Museum of Ojibwa Culture at (906) 643-9161. For lodging and other area information, visit stignace.com.