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St. Croix RiverFest announces Native American programming on July 20

St. Croix RiverFest coordinators attended the Native American Tourism of Wisconsin conference at Bad River reservation in Odanah June 10-12. Attending were NATOW director Apache Danforth, Oneida; Buck Malick, Hudson; Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes; Evy Nerbonne, Hudson; and NATOW president and Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist at St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin Peter LaBlanc. Photo courtesy of Evy Nerbonne

RiverFest Native American events will be take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Lakefront Park on July 20. The Saturday morning program features Paul Ninham presenting, demonstrating and conducting play of lacrosse and longball. Visitors are invited to play with traditional equipment and experience Indigenous culture through traditional game play.

Ninham, of the Wolf Clan from the Oneida Nation, graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor's degree in physical education and earned his Master of Tribal Administration and Governance from the University of Minnesota in Duluth. He has specialized in Native Youth Development and worked in Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

The Saturday afternoon program starts with a show by Woodland Sky Native American Dance Company, followed by a traditional pow-wow format by dancers and singers from the St. Croix Chippewa tribe.

The Lakefront Park bandshell area will also feature heritage and cultural displays, Native American arts and crafts for sale and Native foods such as wild rice soup and Indian tacos. A plains-style teepee will be on site to house displays and activities.

New this year is Woodland Echoes: Native American Tastes, Sights & Sounds, an evening program at Willow River Elementary School on July 20. Guests can experience the flavors of the woodlands with tastings of pre-colonial foods such as wild rice, native plants, bison, the three sisters vegetables and sweet maple syrup treats. A special performance by Woodland Sky Dance Company will highlight the evening's entertainment. Tickets are $15 each or $25 per couple and available in Hudson at Family Fresh Market, Hudson House Grand Hotel and The Purple Tree. The evening program is presented by Family Fresh Market and Royal Credit Union.

The complete RiverFest schedule is at www.stcroixriverfest.org.