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This week and next, there’s an abundance of storytelling, art, games and festivals happening in Indian Country.

For starters, celebrated Indigenous photographer Matika Wilbur brings Project 562 — a multi-year national photography project dedicated to photographing over 562 federally recognized Tribes — to Santa Monica. Plus, Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits hosts its 12th annual Powwwow in San Fransisco. Finally, Maine’s Wabanaki Nations debuts a vibrant stage production of tribal stories.

Here is Native News Online’s weekly round-up of arts, culture and entertainment offerings around Indian Country. 

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World of Winter Great Lakes Snow Snake Competition
Sunday, Feb. 5, 11:00 a.m. — 4:00 p.m.
Grand Rapids, MI

Snow Snake is a traditional northern Native American game of sport dating back to over 500 years ago. The game’s object is to throw the snow snake the farthest distance along a smooth trough made in the snow. You must make your own snake to compete, but practice snakes will be available for all to try. Snow snakes are hand-made from a flattened or carved piece of wood. One end of the snow snake is curved up slightly and the other end is notched to make it easier to throw.

Arizona Indian Festival 
Saturday, Feb. 4 — Sunday, Feb. 5
Scottsdale, AZ

Held in conjunction with Scottsdale’s Western Week, the Arizona Indian Festival provides a new platform for tribal tourism and awareness of Arizona’s indigenous communities by creating an inclusive inter-tribal event celebrating culture, traditional arts, crafts, and foods, as well as innovations and trends in cultural tourism experiences in Arizona.

Before European Contact: Changing The Ways We Present Our History
Sunday, Feb. 5, 2:00 p.m.— 3:00 p.m.
Portsmouth, NH

Many rich stories about the complex history of our region remain hidden, oftentimes erased in the conventional dominant stories. These narratives start with European contact on these shores and the arrival of enslaved Africans.

This conversation aims to foreground the silenced stories of the Indigenous and African American experiences before European contact. Panelists also will discuss how we can change the language we use to tell a truer history when that history is told from an Indigenous and African point of view.

Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America
Saturday, Feb. 4, Noon — 5:00 p.m.
Santa Monica, CA

The Santa Monica College (SMC) Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery will host a free gallery reception to celebrate the exhibition of Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America by photographer, writer, and podcaster Matika Wilbur from the Tulalip and Swinomish Tribes. 

Created by Matika Wilbur, Project 562 is a multi-year national photography project dedicated to photographing over 562 federally recognized Tribes, urban Native communities, Tribes fighting for federal recognition and Indigenous role models in what is currently known as the United States, resulting in an unprecedented repository of imagery and oral histories that accurately portrays contemporary Native Americans

Bay Area American Indian Two Spirit Pow Wow 2023
Saturday, Feb. 4
San Fransisco, CA

Join the Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) for its 12th Annual Powwow. BAAITS is a community-based volunteer organization offering culturally relevant activities for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Native Americans, their families and friends. Two-Spirit refers to the commonly shared notion among many Native American tribes that some individuals naturally possessed and manifested both masculine and feminine spiritual qualities. American society commonly identifies Two-Spirit People as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender.

Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits comes together to socialize, share and network in an alcohol and drug-free environment. BAAITS sees itself as an organization for Two-Spirit people to explore their rich heritage in a safe environment. To that end, BAAITS is committed to offering culturally relevant activities for LGBT individuals of Native American ancestry and their families and friends.

Wabanaki Stories 
Saturday, Feb. 4, 3:00 p.m. 
Portland, ME

The land and waters known as Maine have been home to Wabanaki People for over 12,000 years. This vibrant production of Wabanaki stories and music spotlights five Wabanaki artists coming from several different nations and traditions. Musician Tania Morey (Tobique) sings of the Wolastoq; Jennifer Pictou (Mi’kmaq) regales with spirit stories told in the company of a large puppet; Dwayne Tomah (Passamaquoddy) shares stories that showcase his native language, Passamaquoddy; and Jason Brown aka Firefly (Penobscot) electrifies with cutting-edge technology blended with ancient frequencies. Director, artist and author Chris Newell (Passamaquoddy) intersperse each with music and narration. 

Grounded in Clay: The Prose of Pueblo Pottery
Sunday, Feb. 5, 1:00 p.m. — 3:00 p.m.
Sante Fe, NM

Join artists and Pueblo Pottery Collective members Max Early (Laguna), Rose B. Simpson (Santa Clara), and Evone “Snowflake” Martinez (Cochiti and San Ildefonso) for a reading of their Grounded in Clay catalog entries. Early, Simpson, and Martinez will discuss the inspiration and intention behind their poetry/prose and share their experiences curating the exhibition.

Welcome to Indian Country
Saturday, Feb. 4, 8:00 p.m.
Arlington, NY

Welcome to Indian Country is an evening-length celebration of Native culture through music and storytelling. A world-class, five-piece musical ensemble is joined by storyteller and Washington State Poet Laureate Rena Priest. Together they weave new compositions and songs with witty, wise, and poignant poetry and satire to honor the elders and ancestors. Their performance unearths the depth, joy, and solidarity that Native people find in their community, culture, and family.

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