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21st Annual “Gateway to Nations” NYC Native American Heritage Celebration
Jun 5, 2015 @ 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
June 5th– 7th Brooklyn’s own Redhawk Native American Arts Council will host the first of this summer’s four Native American cultural celebrations/ Pow Wows called “Native People of the Lower Hudson Valley”. The 21th Annual Gateway to Nations NYC Native American Heritage Celebration will be held at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field, Gateway National Recreation Area. The celebration is the largest Native American gathering in New York City, a festival which brings over 1,000 Native American, artists, performers and educators from across the Americas to the original homeland of the Canarsie Indians. The artists will be demonstrating the finest in Native American song, dance, drumming, arts and food. Over 40 different artist booths will be selling traditional works as well as demonstrations of artistic techniques.
Tickets: Friday $12 adults and teens, $10 seniors and students, $8 ages 6-12, children (age 5 & under) Free, New: $35 family 4-packs (must be purchased online); (FREE PARKING)
Tickets can be purchased at event or online: www.gateway2015.eventbrite.com
Time: Friday 10AM–7PM / Saturday & Sunday PM
Dancers Entry: Saturday and Sunday at 1PM& 4:30PM
Friday June 5th is “Student Day” where schools, organizations, groups, and the general public are invited to enjoy the event’s special educational programming for only $7 admission. There will be a special emphasis on Native American culture of New York State. Artists will be sharing the traditions both past and present of the region’s first people.
Some of the highlighted performances of the weekend will be:
- · Grand Entry of Dancers: All the dancers enter the dance area behind the Eagle staff and war veterans carrying the American flags.
- · Men’s Fancy War: With two large circles of brightly colored feathers on their backs, the dancers spin furiously while keeping pace with the fast drum beat.
- · Woman’s Fancy Shawl: Also called the Butterfly Dance, women dance with shawls draped across their shoulders as they appear to float about the dance circle.
- · Men’s Northern Traditional: Also called the war dance. The men paint their faces and carry a lance or war club, shield and eagle fan. The dancers tell the story of past hunts, searching for their pray or enemy.
- · Women’s Jingle Dress: A healing dance; the dancers’ dresses make the sound of a gentle rain falling to the earth.
- · Hoop Dance: Dancers use up to 50 small hoops to create shapes of animals and creatures of the earth while they dance to fast-paced traditional drumming and singing.
- · Iroquois Smoke Dance: Members of the Six Nations of New York State perform this fast style of dance, which was originally only done in the Long Houses of the Iroquois Confederacy.
In honor of the Indigenous people hailing from outside of the U.S. there will also be a Polynesian dance troupe representing cultures from the islands of Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa and New Zealand, an Aztec group from Mexico City and Inca groups from Peru and Ecuador, and a Taino group celebrating the Native culture of the people from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Other highlights of the event include authentic cuisine: buffalo burgers, venison stew, corn soup and Indian Tacos. Visitors can interact with representatives from various tribal Nations such as the Sioux, Navajo, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Comanche and Mohawk. Many of the artists have journeyed across the Americas to sell their breathtaking paintings, carvings, pottery, beadwork, jewelry and leatherwork. This family event also features a live bird of prey exhibit, pony rides and tipi raising.
The celebration honors not just the rich history and culture of Native Americans but also the contributions they have made to the world, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, rubber, gum and the democracy we enjoy as Americans. Event organizer Taiyin Snowflower says “People are often surprised to see how exciting and colorful our cultures are today, yet we still hold on to the traditions of our ancestors”. One of the highlights of the celebration is the grand entry as Veterans both Native and non- Native are welcomed into the dance area leading the percussion of dancers carrying the Eagle Staff, American and Pow-MIA flags. “ We hope we can help visitors learn a little bit more about Americas first people, helping to break the stereotyped images created by television, movies and sports teams using Native American as mascots” says Taiyin. Men’s Traditional Dancer Yasti Perkins adds “Native People still have a long way to go but we hope to capture their hearts to the beauty of our culture so we can capture their minds to who we are as a people today”.
Founded in 1994, Redhawk Native American Arts Council is a non-profit cultural organization and the only Indigenous Arts Council in New York State. Each year Redhawk provides work for over 250 Native American artists, residing in the New York City area. These artists share their traditions from North America, South America, the Caribbean and Polynesian Islands. Our mission is to break the stereotyped images created by the media and sports teams using Native Americans as mascots. Redhawk hosts a cultural center long house and urban garden in Sunset Park Brooklyn. The organization also creates educational programs for students and young urban Native American youth eager to learn about their cultures and traditions.