I participated in a Bible Study at the Albion First United Methodist Church led by Kae Wilbert on Native American history and the connection with the United Methodist faith….and Christianity in general. It was a fascinating study and Kae did an amazing job presenting the information. We ended the study with a day trip to the Ganondagan Music and Dance Festival in Victor, NY. I was in awe of everything we learned, saw, and participated in during the study and our day at Ganondagan! Visit the Ganondagan web site by clicking here. Please visit the site and at least read the information on the home page, as it will give much better information than I can, here!
Ganondagan State Historic Site, located in Victor, NY is registered as a National Historic Landmark. Here are some photos from the festival:
Historically, the site was the home of many Long Houses – long bark huts that housed entire families of Seneca Indians. When a Native American man married, he would move into his wife’s family long house and, if he was of a different clan, he would become a member of the wife’s clan. It was a strong matriarch society. There is a full size Seneca Bark Long House on the property that depicts the typical living quarters of a Seneca family in the 1600s.
The welcome message and prayer, explained in English and presented in its entirety in the Seneca language:
We were treated to a very entertaining story telling session – complete with the ancient story of why dogs sniff each other’s butts – by the wonderful Story Teller, Tonia Loran:
And, then there were songs and dances! This was just amazing!!!! The performers of the Iroquois Social Dancing were Bill Crouse and the Allegany River Indian Dancers – most of whom were Bill Crouse’s daughters, grandchildren, and son-in-laws. I absolutely LOVED this part!!!
This 4-year-old (on the right) was incredible…..and so cute!!! He took is participation very seriously and was so good – he also looked like he absolutely loved doing it!
In addition to singing and dancing, they explained the meaning and purpose of their various clothing and regalia.
This dance was performed by the youngest and the oldest in the group!
And…..there was food!!! Attendees could choose from Indian Tacos, Buffalo Burgers, Venison Sausage, Bear Sausage, Corn Soup, and some more typical festival foods…….I chickened out and had a hot dog!
The property is also home to the Seneca Art and Culture Center that was recently built in 2015.
This one is titled: Mother Earth Waking Up After Winter……it was simply stunning!!! My favorite!
There were also craft booths with some of the most beautiful artistry I’ve ever seen! But, as I was taking a photo of something that caught my eye, I was asked politely to not photograph the artists work. I respected that request and assumed the others likely felt similarly, so no photos of the arts and crafts that were for sale.
This is an annual festival……I highly recommend you go, if you ever get the chance! I just may go again in the future!