Ganondagan Celebrates 19th Annual Festival

VICTOR, NY—June 24, 2010– On July 24 and 25, 2010 Ganondagan State Historic Site will present its 19th Annual Native American Dance & Music Festival. CELEBRATE is the theme for the 2010 festival, both to honor this year’s special guests and in appreciation to the Seneca Nation of Indians and the many generous donors who helped keep the site open earlier this year when state budget woes threatened closure.Special GuestsEach day, Ganondagan will welcome two of the remaining 86 Navajo Code Talkers, as well as the award-winning contemporary Navajo Rock/Blues Band, the Plateros. Inviting these guests from the Southwest is in keeping with Ganondagan’s festival goals of presenting the best of music and dance from indigenous peoples across the nation and around the world. Native performers have visited from as far away as New Zealand, Hawaii and last year, France.The Navajo Code Talkers, who are renowned for their courage and heroism during WWII, will be given a Marine Honor Guard escort from the bark longhouse to the performance tent. All military personnel and veterans in the audience will be invited to participate. After a brief commemoration ceremony – particularly appropriate this year, being the 65th anniversary year of the Battle of Iwo Jima – the Code Talkers will sharetheir experience of serving as “living codes” during WWII and helping to win the war through their delivery of indecipherable code based on the Navajo language.The Navajo Rock Blues group, the Plateros, is lead by 18-year-old Levi Platero, who began his musical career at age 7 when he played percussion back-up to his father, Murphy Platero. Today, the group is a three-piece family Rock Blues “power trio” that has received numerous award nominations and won “Best Blues” at the 2009 New Mexico Music Awards. What’s New?“At each year’s festival, we try to feature something new,” shared Ganondagan’s Executive Director Jeanette Miller. “This year, in addition to our popular family drum jam, flute maker William Harjo will lead a Native American flute playing workshop.”Ms. Miller also spoke enthusiastically about the new role Wegmans will play in the festival. “Wegmans has agreed to become a sponsor, so we will now have a Wegmans family discovery tent. In one area of the tent, Wegmans will have a healthy food exhibit and will offer nutritional snacks for sale. Throughout the tent families can participate in hands-on craft activities where recycled materials will become fun, useful and decorative crafts the whole family can enjoy.”Another new feature will be an outdoor art exhibit in the form of a traditional fishing weir where Seneca artist, Peter Jemison, will create fish for the weir that will become part of a silent auction to benefit Ganondagan.Traditional FavoritesNo Ganondagan Dance & Music Festival would be complete without Ganondagan’s Spirit Dancers and the Buffalo Creek Dancers. This year, in addition to performing Iroquois Social Dancing, they will treat the audience to Pow Wow Dancing, offering an opportunity to compare and contrast the two styles of dance.Attendees will also be able to peruse one of the largest Native American Art Markets in the Northeast, which attracts many of the exhibitors who appear annually in the Santa Fe Indian Market. The Bark Longhouse and the trails will be open for guided tours and this year, upon request, trail tours will be given via golf cart for those with disabilities. As in prior years, a diversity of foods will be available for purchase, including traditional Native American favorites such as corn soup, buffalo burgers and bear sausage.CELELBRATE, Ganondagan’s 2010 Native American Dance & Music Festival will take place at Ganondagan State Historic Site located at 1488 State Rte. 444, Victor, NY on July 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admittance to the festival is $10 for adults; $7 for Seniors (62+) and Students (13+); $3 for Children (age 4-12). The festival is free for children under 4, for Friends of Ganondagan Members showing a current membership card and for active, reserve, retired or disabled veterans who show a valid, government-issued military ID. Parking is available at the Victor Firemen’s Field, and free shuttle service is available to the festival. ASL interpretation is available. For full program and details, visit www.ganondagan.org or call 585.742-1690.* * * * *Ganondagan State Historic Site is the former location of the largest Seneca Village in New York State until 1687. It is the only the only U.S. national landmark east of the Mississippi River and the sole New York State Historic Site dedicated to Native American History and Culture. It was also designated as a national treasure during the “Save America’s Treasures” presidential tour.Today, visitors can tour an authentic replica of a 17th Century bark longhouse and hunting lodge, take self-guided tours over 500 acres that were once part of this Town of Peace belonging to the Senecas. The Senecas were “the Keepers of the Western Door” and part of the Iroquois Confederacy or Haudenosaunee, as they referred to themselves.

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