2006-06-09 / Community

Native American Festival At Gateway This Weekend

The Red Hawk Native American Festival is coming to Gateway National Recreation Area at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.

The festival will be open to visitors from June 9 to June 11, operating on Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p. m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Hosted by the New York City-based Redhawk Native American Arts Council, it is the largest Native American festival held in New York.

Taking place over three days, more than 1,000 artists, performers and educators from across the Americas demonstrate the finest in Native American song, dance, drumming, flute, food, art and crafts. Friday is student day, where schools from across New York may bring their students for a reduced rate.

Held the same weekend as the Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan, the Brooklyn festival will also feature rare traditional dances performed by Tainos, the indigenous people of Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

The highlight of the event every year is the dance performances, which include: Men's Fancy War, with a circle of eagle feathers on their backs, they spin furiously; Woman's Fancy Shawl: With shawls draped across their shoulders, they appear to float; Men's Northern Traditional: With their bodies, dancers tell stories of past hunts and battles; Women's Jingle Dress: They make the sound of a gentle rain falling to the earth as they move, and the famous Hoop Dance in which dancers may use up to 50 small hoops to form different shapes of animals.

Other highlights of the threeday event include authentic Native American cuisine like buffalo burgers, venison stew, corn soup and fry bread, and the opportunity for attendees to interact with Native Americans from such tribes as Sioux, Navajo, Winnebago, Cherokee and Mohawk. Many of the artists have journeyed across the continent to showcase their breathtaking paintings, carvings, pottery, beadwork, jewelry and leatherwork all for sale. The family event also features a live bird of prey exhibit, pony rides, and, this year, for the first time, the show is introducing an art contest with cash prizes.

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