Woodland Sky performs for Negaunee students

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 6:31 PM EDT
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NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - Traditional Native American storytelling and dancing were on full display at the Negaunee High School auditorium Thursday afternoon.

The Native American dance troupe Woodward Sky performed in front of students. Cultural Education Programs Director of the American Indian Center of Chicago, Ronnie Preston said visiting schools is important.

“When I come to do these presentations with our Woodland Sky Native American Dance Company we give them a glimpse for the campaign, we are still here. I still wear my eagle feathers and my face paint, very proudly, and I’m honored to share that culture with our young ones,” Preston said.

The program was able to happen because of the Northwoods Music Collaborative and a grant from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council. Grant Officer of the council, Alex Flannery was there and said the performance today displays that the Upper Peninsula has a lot of artistic potential.

“It just really shows the power of the arts and culture center, especially here in the Upper Peninsula that it’s alive it’s making a full recovery from the pandemic it really has extraordinary ability to enhance our own lives and as well as the vitality of our Michigan communities,” Flannery said.

Even U.P. native Evan Premo was part of the show providing musical background for the dancing group.

“I’m just so honored to be able to play some music that I’ve composed to their dancing because it’s always so beautiful,” Premo said.

Negaunee students had the chance to ask the performers questions at the end of the show. They asked how the clothes were made and about their language. Before leaving – Preston and his group shared some basic Ojibwa words.

“I taught them how to say ‘boozhoo’ and ‘miigwech’ which means hello and thank you in your language and if we can do that and if one person can say that word each day, that language stays here and it doesn’t disappear,” said Preston.

Preston said the next performance on the docket is on Thursday at Crystal Falls for Forest Park School students.

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