ESCANABA - Another event has been added to Escanaba's Sesquicentennial Celebration, scheduled for July 5-14. The Native American Awareness celebration, which will showcase Native American culture in the community, will take place from 2-5 p.m. Thursday, July 11, near the Karas Band Shell in Ludington Park.
"This very special event will feature both equal parts entertainment and education. The colors, music and dancers will be a joy for children and adults," said Kay Johnson, co-chair of the Sesquicentennial Celebration.
In addition to drummers and dancers, the event will feature craft and food vendors featuring Native American items. Tribal members from throughout the Upper Peninsula will be invited to take part in the event.
"Native American history and Escanaba's history are intertwined, and having tribal members not only join in our celebration but be one of its shining stars is special," Johnson said.
The tribal dancing, drumming and regalia will all be part of the solemn ceremony with detailed information and background provided by tribal members. Tribal members are expected to interact with members of the audience, especially children, as part of the living education experience.
"Showcasing this ceremony to residents and visitors alike is a great gift to the city, and we can't thank tribal members enough." Johnson said.
Susie Meshigaud, director of Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community Department of Health and Human Services, said the drumming and dancing are valuable and profound parts of the Native American culture. "It's almost a chicken and egg kind of thing. We're not sure what comes first, the dancing or the drumming. The dancers need the drummers, and the drummers need the dancers. They become one," she said.
The Native American celebration will conclude with the presentation of a small gift to all those attending.
The tribal members will also be part of the opening parade for the Sesquicentennial Celebration, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 5.
One of the major sponsors of the 10-day celebration is the Hannahville Indian Community.
The Delta County Area Chamber of Commerce is part of Escanaba's Sesquicentennial Celebration event planning committee. Its executive director, Vickie Micheau, praised local communities and specifically Hannahville for coming together for this important event. "Escanaba and its Native American Community are, of course, very important aspects of what our region has been, what our area has grown into, and what our future may hold. It's time to sit back, celebrate everything our ancestors have done, and ponder what's yet to come. This is a true community happening," Micheau said.
The festivities will feature many events, including musical concerts, tours, maritime festivals, class reunions, running events, picnics and historical displays. For more information, go to www.esky150.org.