Saturday, June 10, 2000

Ft. Ancient celebrates Indian life

Stories, music, crafts at event

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        OREGONIA — Arrows weren't the only feathered flying objects created by American Indians. Resourceful prehistoric dwellers inserted turkey feathers in corncobs and hurled them through a hoop in a game that resembled darts.

        Visitors to Fort Ancient's annual celebration this weekend can launch their own corncob darts or practice their archery skills; make flints, pottery or dream catchers; grind corn; and string shells for jewelry.

  What: Fort Ancient celebration.
  When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.
  Where: Fort Ancient, 6123 Ohio 350, about seven miles east of Lebanon.
  Cost: $6 for adults, $1.50 for children 6-12; fees for some workshops.
  Call: 932-4421 or (800) 238-8904.
        The two-day event features demonstrations and storytelling by about 35 American Indians. Fort Ancient site manager Jack Blosser expects up to 3,000 visitors this weekend.

        “When we started this 10 years ago, it was one day and 800 people,” he said. “The purpose of the celebration is to educate the public about American Indian traditions and lifestyles.

        “It's not a powwow, it's a family gathering, with no competition or discussion of intertribal issues.”

        Drumming and dancing are at the core of the celebration. Veteran dancer Buffalo (Ed Hodges) explained that the dance cir cle represents the circle of life.

        “The dance circle is like the Earth,” said the Goshen resident, a recognized member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. “We dance to honor the Creator. Each time you make a circle from the point of entry, if it's in your heart, that's a prayer that goes up to the Creator.”

        The drumbeat itself represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth, he said. Three drum groups are involved in the celebration: the White Oak singers from Cincinnati, the Mekoce Family Drum from the Wilmington area and the Black Swamp Singers from northwestern Ohio. There will also be a drumming workshop for children.


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