Native American Festival Brings Colgate Back to its Roots

Mollie Reilly

Although many students are unaware, Colgate is surrounded by Native American culture. Words like Oneida, Konosioni and Chenango are common on campus, yet little notice is ever given to their historical and cultural origins. However, this weekend’s Native American Arts & Culture Festival hopes to eliminate this ignorance. Organized by Colgate’s Native American Studies program in conjunction with the Native

American Student Association, Saturday’s all-day events aim to educate Colgate students and other residents of Central New York on the customs and traditions of the tribes who originally inhabited the area.

Throughout the day, festival visitors can sample the traditional foods of local tribes, admire their artwork and even purchase handmade crafts including pottery, baskets, jewelry, musical instruments and dolls.

The festival will also host many entertaining performances. Among this year’s performers are Dan Hill of the Cayuga tribe, who will play the flute; Kay Olan of the Mohawk tribe, a highly talented storyteller; and the Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers of the Onondaga tribe, who will perform the traditional songs and dances of the Iroquois people.

In addition to these performances, artisans will display their handiwork with skillful demonstrations. The arts of bead working, lacrosse stick making, pottery, silver smithing, stone sculpture and even Mayan weaving will all be showcased throughout the day. Festival attendees can watch these demonstrations, and then buy the very products they saw artfully and carefully created.

As their parents watch Maya Indians from Guatemala demonstrate back-strap weaving techniques, children will not be bored. The festivities include many activities for youngsters that will both entertain and teach Hamilton children about Native American culture. They will be able to make cornhusk dolls, attend interactive dance sessions, listen to tribal stories and color and make their own jewelry.

The festival begins at 9:30 AM on Saturday, November 4, and lasts until 5:00 PM.

Be sure to take a break from your usual Saturday routine and take advantage of this exciting, unique and free opportunity to learn more about Native American culture. It will surely be both informative and fun.