Sections

Your ‘Gateway’ to Native American culture

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Finally, someone has put the wow in pow wow.

And that means a half-naked man in a loincloth juggling a two-headed torch.

“It’s pretty dangerous — a way of showing the prowess and fearlessness of a warrior and his agility,” said Cliff Mathias, director of the Redhawk Arts Council, which will sponsor the Samoan “Fire Knife” dance as part of its three-day “Gateway to Nations” Native American festival, starting on June 4.

The all-weekend event brings together more than 1,000 Native American artists, performers and educators, demonstrating the finest in Native American song, dance, drumming, food and art.

Spectacles don’t all feature fire, but they’re all exciting, including the Men’s Fancy War, where men spin furiously with a circle of eagle feathers on their backs; the Hoop Dance, performers use small hoops to create shapes of animals while they dance to traditional drumming; and singing groups from northern Canada.

The visual element of the festival is another draw, said Mathias, thanks to the colorful regalia of the performers — from giant feather headpieces to buckskin dresses.

“It’s a modern take on our old styles,” said Mathias. “We still dance and sing the same, but we do use a lot of bright colors, which I think a lot of people are surprised by when they come to the pow wow.”

Indeed, the majority of the attendees are not of Native American descent (especially since Brooklyn’s American Indian population comprises half a percent of the borough’s population), but merely show up to experience the culture and authentic Native American cuisine, including buffalo burgers, venison stew, corn soup and fry bread.

This year, the festival, which typically has a strong emphasis on Native American culture of New York state, will be branching out to encompass indigenous people from outside the U.S., including a performance by a Polynesian dance troupe.

“Gateway to Nations” at the Gateway National Recreation Area Floyd Bennett Field [50 Aviation Rd. off Flatbush Avenue in Marine Park, (718) 258-0324], Friday, June 4, 10-5 pm; Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6, 11 am-7 pm. Tickets are $12 for adults, $7 for seniors and children (6 and under free). For info, visit www.redhawkcouncil.org.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: