Native American Ceremony and Dancers Celebrate the New Algonquian Village @ Institute for Native American Studies

The Institute for American Indian Studies on 38 Curtis Road in Washington has good reason to celebrate and you are invited to join the fun at the Algonquian Village Renewal Ceremony on October 12 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This is your chance to be one of the first people to visit the new revitalized Village consisting of wigwams and a longhouse and, to be part of a special Native American Smudging Ceremony by Darlene Kascak, Schaghticoke. This fascinating ceremony will cleanse the new longhouse and chase away evil spirits in the village. The Thunderbird Dancers, the oldest Native American Dance Company in New York that have performed all over the world will be on hand to perform dances of celebration in the village. This amazing dance troupe keeps alive the traditions, songs, and dances they have learned that would otherwise be lost. For those interested in how the village was actually constructed, Kalin Griffin, IAIS Educator and, primitive technologist will be on hand to talk about the techniques used to reconstruct the village using only stone tools.

Since the 1980s the replicated 16th century outdoor Native American Village at the Institute has been a favorite of visitors, students, teachers, and staff. Walking on a winding forest path leading to the village that was constructed to resemble the way a Native American community in Connecticut would have looked centuries ago is one of the most memorable aspects of a visit to the Institute. Entering the village, visitors feel transported back in time as they explore the longhouse, a cluster of wigwams, shelters, and gardens. One of the most intriguing aspects of the village is that it is made using only trees and bark and other things found in the natural environment using traditional tools and techniques. Today’s visitors to the Institute and those that plan to visit in the future will continue to enjoy this beautiful village and learn about the fascinating culture of the Eastern Woodland Indians.

About The Institute for American Indian Studies

Located on 15 acres of woodland acres the IAIS preserves and educates through archeology, research, exhibitions, and programs. We have a 16th c. Algonquian Village, Award-Winning Wigwam Escape, and a museum with temporary and permanent displays of authentic artifacts from prehistory to the present that allows visitors to foster a new understanding of the world and the history and culture of Native Americans. The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road, Washington, CT.

The Pequot War and the Founding of Fairfield

The Fairfield Museum and History Center presents a new exhibition, The Pequot War and the Founding of Fairfield, 1637-1639, on view through January 18, 2015, concluding a full year of exhibits, programs and events that celebrated Fairfield’s 375th anniversary.

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A collaboration with the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, this exhibit presents the story of the Pequot War in 1637, which led to Fairfield becoming established as an English settlement 375 years ago. Roger Ludlow, then a member of the Windsor Settlement, came south to join the fight. He was so taken with the area and its beauty, he returned in 1639 and founded the town of Fairfield.

An Algonquian-speaking people, the Pequot had been living in southeastern Connecticut for thousands of years prior to European contact. Before the arrival of the Europeans, roughly 13,000 Pequot lived in villages along Long Island Sound and the estuaries of the Thames, Mystic, and Pawcatuck Rivers, raising food through farming, hunting, and gathering

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The Pequot War (1637-38) was the first serious conflict in New England between European colonizers and the indigenous population. Historians have referred to the war as a seminal event in early American history, as it paved the way for English control of southern New England and the subjugation of the region’s Native people.
Among the many objects displayed in the exhibit is the sword of Captain John Mason, on loan from the Stonington Historical Society. Mason was the leader of the Connecticut troops during the Pequot War, and he most probably used this sword to fight the Pequot.

The exhibit also includes an original copy of John Underhill’s Newes from America (1638), on loan from the Connecticut Historical Society, rarely on public display. Captain John Underhill led the Mass Bay troops during the war and later published this account of the events. It is not only one of the most important primary sources of the war, but the publication also includes a remarkable woodcut of the attack on Mistick Fort that has become an iconic image. Also on view are other early 17th century examples of English arms and armor, including a helmet and matchlock gun, as well as a period bale seal and religious book, all on loan from the Plimoth Plantation.

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Also featured is a photograph of George Avison’s artwork, commissioned during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration to paint a series of five murals depicting Fairfield’s history, including one of the Swamp Fight. When he completed them in 1937, they were hung in the Roger Ludlowe High School building, now known as Tomlinson Middle School, where they remain today.

About the Fairfield Museum and History Center
The Fairfield Museum and History Center is a nonprofit, community cultural arts and education center established in 2007 by the 103-year old Fairfield Historical Society. The 13,000 square-foot museum includes modern galleries, a research library, a museum shop and community spaces overlooking Fairfield’s historic Town Green. The Fairfield Museum and History Center believes in the power of history to inspire the imagination, stimulate thought and transform society. Located at 370 Beach Road in Fairfield, CT, the Museum is open seven days a week, 10 am – 4 pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors. Members of the Museum and children are free. For more information www.fairfieldhistory.org.

For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

Celebrate Green Corn in Litchfield Hills

The Institute for American Indian Studies Museum and Research Center in Washington CT is hosting it’s Annual Green Corn Festival on Saturday, August 2 from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm on the grounds of the Museum located on 38 Curtis Road. The event will be held rain or shine. Adults: $10; children: $6.

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Green Corn Festivals are held all over Native America between May and October. The events are both a celebration and a religious ceremony. They celebrate the ripening of the first corn of the year depending on geographic location. The whole idea is to give thanks to the Creator, the Great Spirit, for the corn, the rain and sun that nurture it.

Traditionally corn has been an integral part of the annual cycle of life for Native American People and this Festival celebrates the first corn of the season. Fun filled activities for the whole family including drumming, dancing, face painting, kids’ crafts, and more make this event memorable.

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Highlights of the event include exciting Native American ceremonies including traditional Eastern Woodland song & dance with the Native Nation Dancers, Schaghticoke, Objiwa and Lumbee, dancing both Northern and Southern Traditional styles. A highlight this year will be the all female drumming group, Spirit of Thunderheart of Schaghticoke, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Cree and Cherokee ancestry; other performers include musician Allan Madahbee, Ojibwa; Storyteller Janis Us, Mohawk-Shinnecock descent, and Abenaki Chef and Author, Dale Carson.

A favorite of young and old alike are the Native American folktales told by storyteller, Janis Us of Mohawk-Shinnecock descent. Kids will enjoy Native American inspired crafts and facepainting.

Two not to be missed features of the Festival are the crafts for sale by local Native American artisans and a taste of traditional cooking including Pow-wow style food for sale in the outdoor Algonkian Village hosted by Dale Carson, of Abenaki descent.

About the Institute for American Indian Studies Museum and Research Center
The focus of the Institute has always been stewardship and preservation. In 1991, the name was changed to the Institute for American Indian Studies. With the name change there was a shift in focus to include education in conjunction with research.

The ethnographic collection of the Institute for American Indian Studies contains over 6,000 cultural items. While focusing on the Eastern Woodlands Peoples, the collection represents indigenous communities throughout the western hemisphere. Items vary in raw material composition – textiles, wood, stone, clay, glass, shell and semi-precious jewels – function and style from moccasins, rugs, baskets and leggings to containers, weaponry, personal accessories, recreational objects and fine art.

The Research & Collections Building is artifact-friendly with a climate controlled vault and spacious laboratory. It is home to an abundance of collections, both ethnographic and archaeological. It also houses both an education and research library, containing over 2,000 books and journals and is open only by appointment (860-868-0518 ext.109).

For Museum hours and other special events visit: http://www.birdstone.org. For information on Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Native American Quill and Beadwork in Litchfield Hills

In northwest Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, the Institute for American Indian Studies on 38 Curtis Road in Washington is presenting a quill and bead work exhibition of Chris Bullock who is of Wampanoag descent.

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Since childhood, Chris has participated in Native American cultural events and has been crafting his own work for 47 years. He also provides educational programming on eighteenth century Native culture.

Chris oversees the daily operation of The Wandering Bull, LLC, a family business his parents began in 1969 that is located in Washington, New Hampshire. The Wandering Bull sells Native craft supplies, as well as vintage and antique Native art with a focus on the Northeast Woodlands.

The exhibit runs through November 30, 2013. There is no charge for this exhibition. Museum Hours: Monday through Saturday 10am to 5pm Sunday from 12 Noon to 5pm Last admission at 4:30pm. For more information www.iaismuseum.org and for information on Litchfield Hills Connecticut www.litchfieldhills.com

Twined Art at the Institute for American Indian Studies

The exhibition Woven from Milk Weed by Wabanaki Artist Vera Longtoe Sheehan opens at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington Connecticut runs through May 31, 2013. There is no charge for this exhibition. The Museum is open Monday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 12 noon to 5pm. The last admission is at 4:30 pm.

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Vera Longtoe Sheehan is a fiber artist who follows in the footsteps of her ancestors. When she was young, her father started teaching her how to harvest and process plants to make cordage. He also taught her the various techniques that she uses to make twined bags, baskets and textiles.

Vera combines her tribal and family knowledge with many years of researching Wabanaki history, culture and tradition to create her one of a kind twined woven items. She uses both hand-rolled and commercially rolled plant fiber cordage. Each of the hand items can take hours, days, weeks or even months to complete.

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Her twined art is environmentally friendly because it is made from plants, which are quick growing, renewable resources. She is currently teaching her children to twine, so that this endangered art form is not lost. Some of her twined bags, baskets and textiles have appeared in films and literature.

The artist and her family reside in Vermont. She offers a variety of programs for schools, museums and historic sites.

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“Meet the Artist” Reception is Sunday, April 7th from 1pm -3pm. The reception includes refreshments at 2pm.

For more information about the Institute for American Indian Studies located on 38 Curtis Rd. in Washington CT call 860-868-0518 or visit www.iaismuseum.org. For area information www.litchfieldhills.com.

Native American Drum Making Workshop at The Institute for American Indian Studies

The most important Native American instrument was and still is the drum. Most Native Americans prefer to use drums made from traditional materials made by a master drum maker or make their own. This is because of the strong spiritual associations of the drum….it is the heartbeat of Mother Earth.

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Indigenous peoples made several kinds of drums; log drum, water drum and the most common, the hand drum. Hand drums could be single or double-headed. In the northeast region they were traditionally made using a wooden base and an animal hide; typically deer or elk.

The drum is considered to be the first musical instrument used by humans; historians believe the drum has been virtually every culture known to mankind. The original purpose was for communicating over long distances as a type of signal.

On Saturday, February 23 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Allan Madahbee, Ojibway artist and musician, will instruct participants in making their own single-face drum while sharing the importance of the drum in Native American culture. This workshop is recommended for cildren ages 12 and up. The workshop fee is $150; $125 IAIS Members. Reservations and a $50 nonrefundable deposit is required by calling 860-868-0518. The museum is located on 38 Curtis Rd. in Washington Connecticut. For additional information www.iaismuseum.org. For area information www.litchfieldhills.com

About The Institute for American Indian Studies

IAIS is a Not-For-Profit organization. We do not receive monies from the State, Town of Washington nor any other museum or gaming facility. We reply on membership, programs and contributions for support.