Cissie and Savanna Sky, Iroquois Festival, September 1999. Photo: Bill Dalzell
This annual celebration of the history and culture
of the Iroquois Nation in Howes Cave, New York, has been held since
1982, one year after the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave was
founded. The museum's mission is to educate the public about the
Iroquois, by collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting their
It also sponsors the festival, held over Labor Day
weekend, and festival admission includes admission to the museum,
which contains exhibits of archeology, history, and contemporary
Iroquois arts. Headlining the 1999 festival was the national dance
troupe, Sky Dancers, led by Jim Sky of the Onondaga Nation. Their
social dances have been passed down through generations, and remain
among the most unchanged Native American traditions.
The festival featured an arts market of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) artists and crafters, who set up
tents from which they showed and sold work, which included antler
carving, basketry, beadwork, ceramics, feather work, leatherwork,
textiles, silverwork, and woodwork. Many children's activities,
such as face painting, cornhusk doll making, T-shirt painting, and
beadworking, were offered at the craft tent. A scavenger hunt in
the artists' tents encouraged visitors to talk with the many
Iroquois people in attendance. Other festival activities included
story telling, puppet shows, nature tours, an archeology tent, and
lacrosse demonstrations. Native foods featured corn soup, venison,
a strawberry drink, and fry bread.
Documentation includes text, a 20-minute videotape,
20 slides, a history of the museum, promotional materials, and an
audio tape of an interview with festival participants.
Originally submitted by: Sherwood L. Boehlert, Representative (23rd District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.