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Ganondagan site hosts Native American Winter Games

The annual Native American Winter Games at Ganondagan State Historic Site featured food, fun and furry friends for visitors of all ages, while also providing plenty of educational opportunities.

The gathering at the Seneca Art & Culture Center offered up indigenous food and traditional examples of winter sports for visitors to observe and experience. Activities included social dancing, storytelling and miniature snow-boat races.

Other activities included a visit from Siberian huskies and an opportunity to talk with a veteran player about the Haudenosaunee sport of snow snake.

Organized by the nonprofit Friends of Ganondagan, the event offered the chance for visitors to experience and learn about the culture of the Seneca and Haudenosaunee people, according to Peter Jemison, who manages the Ganondagan State Historic Site.

“We want to show people the kinds of games that are being played in the winter,” said Jemison, adding the winter games are designed to show the traditions are continuing and maintained.

While this year marked the third event without enough snow to host certain activities, Jeanette Jemison, program director for Friends of Ganondagan, said how having the center provided plenty of room for alternative plans, moving snow snake indoors as an exhibit while repurposing a visit from the sled dogs.

“We’ll adapt to whatever the conditions,” she said.

Four purebred huskies from the Kindred Moon Kennel in Oswego County proved popular with children. Jo Lynn Stresing spoke about dogsled racing and the dogs themselves, emphasizing how they are not forced to race.

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