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A Multicultural Experience

New holistic festival in Bedford
to promote healthy living skills

Harmonizing Health to stage
diverse event at its retreat

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

BEDFORD, Ky. (May 2012) – Although he is not of Native American descent, Oldham County, Ky., resident Jim Zimmerman has always been interested in the Native American culture – so much so, that he has researched and put together a presentation about the Nez Perce tribe.
Early in American history, the Nez Perce tribe was a crucial part of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. When Lewis & Clark traveled west from 1803 to 1806, this tribe kept them from starving during the miserable winter months.
“They (the Nez Perce) took them in,” said Zimmerman, “and saved the Lewis and Clark Expedition to some extent.”
Zimmerman said Lewis & Clark found them “to be a unique tribe. They were a moral, upstanding tribe.”

Harmonizing Health Labyrinth

Photo provided

The inaugural festival will feature
a variety of holistic activities.

Zimmerman relates the story of the Nez Perce tribe through his portrayal of a U.S. Infantry officer, Lt. Charles Wood, in “The Nez Perce War of 1877 as witnessed by Lt. Charles Wood.” This presentation “tells the story of what happened during the Nez Perce War of 1877,” he said.
This portrayal will be part of the lineup for the Drum, Arts, Cultural Wellness Festival to be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 19, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 20, at the Harmonizing Health Retreat in Bedford, Ky. This family-friendly event will feature music, storytelling, hands-on experiences with drums, pottery, nature walks, labyrinth, yoga, tai chi, arts and crafts and wellness vendors.
The festival will be hosted by Harmonizing Health Retreat and the Rainbow Spiritual Education Center in Louisville. It is being held “to acquaint the community with the programs available for personal healthy living skills,” said the retreat’s owner, Patrice Masterson.
Masterson said this will be the first time for the event and she “plans to make it an annual event.” Harmonizing Health Retreat provides holistic health classes and private consultations.
This festival will be “very interactive,” said Masterson. “We want to keep the educational aspect of it present; we want to keep people aware of cultural diversity, the arts and talent in the area.”
Zimmerman said his presentation would ad to the educational aspect of the festival. “I’m finding out that a lot of folks don’t have a good grasp of American history. The image that everything is right in this country and with its Founding Fathers is not exactly correct. There were dark periods in American history.”
The removal of the Nez Perce tribe was one of these dark periods. The U.S. Army pursued the tribe as it traveled to Canada to safety. Along their journey, the tribe won every single running battle until within 40 miles of the Canadian border. Zimmerman’s presentation is a close look at what Wood witnessed.
“Wood was way ahead of his time,” said Zimmerman. After a career in the military, he practiced law, was an artist, poet and writer. Throughout his experiences, “Wood came to the conclusion that no one culture or race is better than the next one,” Zimmerman said.
Masterson said the festival is a way to “bring the community together, respect cultural heritage, and help people realize they are responsible for their own health. There are many programs in the community that can help them.”
Masterson said she was aware of the Rainbow Spiritual Education Center’s programming and advocates what the facility is accomplishing. “It’s so important to us to bring people together from different walks of life,” said C.J. Wright, executive director of the education center.
“We do a lot of educating. This festival will have various cultures represented,” Wright said. “It’s a different opportunity for learning.”
The entertainment lineup includes Master Drummer Bob Laake, who will lead the Drum Circles throughout the weekend.
Originally from Batavia, Ohio, Laake was diagnosed with stomach cancer when he discovered the power of the drum as a healing tool. He now uses rhythm and drumming to promote healing and wellness.
Daniel Lally will introduce attendees to Astrological Tai Chi. He co-founded the Dance of the Zodiac with astrologer Jeff Baugher. This form of Tai Chi lets participants experience through movement what each sign looks and feels like, culminating in a long, slow form of all twelve movements.
Storyteller and author Thomas Freese will add his musical talents to his storytelling performance. Freese plays a variety of instruments, and has written both nonfiction and fiction books. He is a visual artist in multiple media and will have his books, audio CDs, handcrafted wood jewelry and spoons for sale.
Another Oldham County resident, Thomas McShane, is a professional musician who operates Hewn from the Mountain Music Café in Crestwood. McShane has performed in such musical involvements as folk dance troupes, composed music and directed theatrical productions and performed Celtic and traditional music at events in several countries.
The Opening Ceremony for this festival will be performed by the Ohio Valley Native American Veteran’s Warriors Society Native Dancers. The society will also close the festival on Sunday.

• For more information, contact Patrice Masterson at (937) 631-5581 or visit the website at: www.HarmonizingHealthRetreat.com.

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