and Clark Bicentennial
event docks at Westport
American demonstrations to highlight festival
Helen E. McKinney
WESTPORT, Ky. (September 2006) Anthony Redfeather
Nava grew up with a strong sense of who he is. His father is from the
Pascua Yaqui Nation from Arizona, and his mother is Keetowah Band Cherokee
Redfeather Nava teaches children about
Native American culture
at schools and festivals.
For the past 16 years he has been teaching in the Louisville
and southern Indiana area about native culture. Through the clothes
he wears, the artifacts he displays, and the flute he plays, Nava said
he teaches about native culture from past to the present.
Nava, 36, found his calling through teaching children after realizing
the lack of knowledge about his culture in the area. The flute is an
important part of this culture and he will be performing and demonstrating
at the Lewis & Clark Commemorative Westport RiverDaze Celebration
on Sept. 22-23.
Nava will be on hand both days to share his native culture knowledge.
Fridays events run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and kick off with a
bison dinner and bourbon tasting at the Westport General Store.
At 6:30 p.m. in the Methodist Church will be a special presentation
by Kentucky Humanities Council speaker Mark Sohn. Sohn will be speaking
about Food Along the Lewis and Clark Trail. The Teakettle
Restaurant will prepare period food. Bluegrass group Shades of Grass
will perform at 7 p.m.
Saturdays festivities lineup begins with a 7 a.m. registration
for a 5K-run and 3K walk. A parade will be held at 10:30 a.m., and booths
and childrens activities are ongoing throughout the day. Other
activities include a horse shoe tournament, black powder demonstration
by the Carroll County Blackpowder Shooters, Oldham County Idol and wagon
Westport residents in period dress will give historic walking tours.
One of the homes in Westport was part of the Underground Railroad, said
event organizer Cindy Williams. There is a lot of history in the tiny
town of Westport, even though Lewis and Clark did not stop here,
When Elijah Craig obtained Westport as part of a 300-acre land grant
in May 1780, Kentucky County was still part of Virginia. The Cherokee
Indians had previously claimed this territory as part of their hunting
Westport is a river town, and the majority of Lewis and Clarks
travels were on the water, said Williams. The Kentucky Lewis and Clark
Bicentennial Commission, the Oldham County History Center and the Friends
of Westport are sponsoring this event.
One more reason for celebration is the fact that the Westport Post Office
will be celebrating its 190th birthday. There will be a photo display
inside the post office and post cards containing historic images of
Westport will be for sale. Visitors can purchase a postcard and have
it stamped with a RiverDaze commissioned stamp.
Nava will have his Yaqui River Native Arts on display, which includes
handmade wooden flutes, drums, dream catchers, beadwork, jewelry, and
CDs he has recorded of traditional native music. Part of his program
will include the Indigenous Peoples Sensory Museum.
Set up next to Navas display will be the Oldham County History
Center booth. The history center has partnered with the Oldham County
Conservation District and the Oldham County Public Library on a Leaf
Scrapbook and Identification contest.
The first 20 kids to sign up are eligible for a free leaf collection
packet, which includes a leaf collection notebook, a tree identification
book and a copy of Hoot by Carl Hiassen. The history centers
booth will also feature information on how to identify trees and how
Lewis and Clark learned about native trees when they set out on their
Nava said, I hope people walk away from (my) presentation with
knowledge about the culture that I represent and also that I may have
helped them to understand that my culture is not gone and hopefully
dispel some misconceptions surrounding indigenous peoples.
There are 318 languages among Native American tribes. Nava relies on
his heritage to relate stories about his people and their history. Through
story, music and dance he can reach audiences in a unique way that is
sensory as well as visual.
Nava has dedicated his life to teaching others; his talent and educational
programs speak for themselves. He is a 2005-2006 Showcase Artist for
the Kentucky Center for the Arts, a Resident Roster Artist for the Louisville
Arts Council, and a Roster Artist for the Southern Indiana Arts Council.
Nava often holds school children spellbound as he relates stories of
how the first white settlers to America did not fight with the Native
Americans, but rather learned ways of survival from them. When explorers
such as Capt. John Smith and John Rolph first visited the shores of
America, they did not have enough provisions to last through a winter.
What they learned from Native Americans served them well. They co-existed
peacefully for a time, each relying on the other. Nava tries to dispel
many myths surrounding the Native American culture and its antagonism
towards white settlers.
I love teaching children about my culture, said Nava.
For more information, contact Cindy Williams
at (502) 222-4392 or visit www.friendsofwestport.org. For more information
on Navas workshops and school programs, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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