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On the Bright Side

September 1, 2012

Iroquois festival features Darryl Tonemah

The 31st annual Iroquois Indian Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday at the Iroquois Indian Museum at 324 Caverns Road.

For two days, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the festival features traditional Iroquois music, dance, native foods and much more. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

This year, Darryl Tonemah, an award-winning singer/songwriter, will be the featured performer on both days. Tonemah, who is Kiowa/Comanche/Tuscarora, is a doctor by day and a musician on the side. His work, “Welcome to Your Rainy Day,” won the Best Folk Recording in 2007 from the Native American Music Awards.

In addition to Tonemah, the festival also will feature the following:

· The Sky Dancers of Six Nations. The Sky Dancers are from the Six Nations Reserve in Southern Ontario, along the Grand River. Many of the dancers are members of the Cayuga Nation. The troupe will present traditional Iroquois social dances and the “smoke dance,” and will invite audience members to join them on the dance floor.

· Iroquois Social Dances. Social dances are different from ceremonial or sacred dances. Socials are group dances performed on various occasions, and are meant for everyone. These are the dance traditions of this land, with ties that connect to a dynamic heritage going back more than 10,000 years. Such dances are always performed to music. The musicians create the melodies and rhythms with voice and traditional Iroquois instruments. The dancers perform in stunning hand-made traditional clothing.

· Iroquois Stories. Perry Ground is a Turtle Clan member of the Onondaga Nation who understands the importance of transmitting local knowledge and oral traditions to the next generations. Educating all people on the history, culture and beliefs of the Iroquois is his life’s work. Perry is a teacher and professional storyteller, who has learned many stories as well

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