The memorable snowy winter of 2014 was enriched by a steady schedule of events at the Midwest SOARRING Foundation Cultural Center. These included two cultural talks in the Fireside Series, a hoop earring beading class for all ages, spring Solstice ceremony, and monthly women’s group meetings.
February featured Fireside Series talk given by Terry Lee Gasdia on “Art, Storytelling, and My Hopi Culture.” Terry is of Hopi and Akimel O’odahm descent and a Native American sculptor and carver. Terry Gasdia with Katsina Sculpture[/caption]He learned the art of oil painting and traditional Hopi Katsina doll carving from his grandfather. Influenced by his grandparents teachings growing up, Terry experienced the importance of Hopi culture and art.
Thus, in his talk Terry shared some of these traditional teachings and stories, handed down from generations and memories, which influence the creation of each of his unique pieces.
In March, Janet Smith-Petersen spoke about “My Love Affair with Indian Jewelry. “ Janet is the owner of The Sundance Gallery located in Downers Grove, Illinois. She opened her gallery in 1984 and since then has devoted her life to the mission of promoting and preserving Native American Arts. As her business grew, she established relationships with many Native American artists and was invited by the Southwest Association on Indian Affairs (SWAIA) to judge at the famed Santa Fe Indian Market. Those in attendance at her talk at the Midwest SOARRING Cultural Center were fascinated to learn about different tribal styles of jewelry, turquoise facts, and the history of the native jewelry industry along with jewelry making techniques.
Nina Gilhang, of the Houma Nation, conducted a beaded hoop earring class for all ages which was well attended. On March 20, a Spring Equinox ceremony was organized by Joseph Standing Bear Schranz. Those gathered participated in prayers and talking circle as the warm spring sunshine illuminated the Cultural Center grounds.
Upcoming spring events at the Midwest SOARRING Cultural Center include two Fireside Series presentations. The first, held on April 19 featured Ron Kanutski (Little Medicine Wheel Cloud) of the Lake Helen Reserve/Red Rock Band near Thunder Bay, Ontario. On the first warm, sunny afternoon a large group of participants sat in a circle, savoring their first outdoor campfire of the season. Ron shared Ojibway traditional teachings and songs while many accompanied him on their drums. Everyone enjoyed the sense of camaraderie in the outdoor setting, where the recreated Native village will soon be built.
Future events include a Comcast Cares Volunteer Work Day scheduled for Saturday, April 26 which will focus on the spring garden planting and Phase II of the Native Village construction, and a presentation on May 17 with Don Clarke who will share his expertise of the Stinging Nettle plant and the art of weaving it into bags. A second annual Native Arts and Crafts show is scheduled for the weekend of June 21 and 22.
Everyone is welcome to attend Midwest SOARRING Foundation activities to learn more about the fascinating Native American culture, an important part of our heritage. Check our calendar of events for the up-to-date schedule.