Beyond Boundaries: A Native Cultural Awareness Dinner

Experiences of a lifetime are created when one can combine travel, learning and meeting new people. Beyond Boundaries, a small grassroots group in Syracuse, has been providing such experiences since 1994. Each year we go on one of four Cultural Trips: to Ghana, Puerto Rico, the Gullah area of South Carolina or to a Native community.

Beyond Boundaries groups have traveled to Pine Ridge in South Dakota with Jeanne Shenandoah of the Onondaga Nation, to the First Nations of Ontario, Canada with Finlay Antone of the Oneida, to Kanatsiohareke, Tom Porter’s Mohawk settlement at Fonda, NY, and to Maniwaki in Canada with Algonquin member Terry Steele. Each trip has provided us with opportunities to learn firsthand the experiences and struggles of Native peoples–the physical genocide against them, the devastation of the boarding school experience, the traditional language and craft skills that Native cultures have preserved, and the ongoing struggles to maintain Native sovereignty.

Part of the preparation for our trips has always been a cultural dinner for the Syracuse community. The purpose is to give others an opportunity to learn about the culture to which we are travelling. This year, as our focus is on Native Cultures, our dinner will share Native cuisine, storytelling and dance.

This summer a group of 12 Beyond Boundaries members will travel to Native communities in New Mexico. We have planned a Native Awareness Cultural Evening & Dinner at 6 pm Sat., April 30 at the Northeast Community Center, 716 Hawley Av. (Dr. Weeks School). Dan Hill of Cayuga S.H.A.R.E. Farm, a flutist, storyteller and visual artist, will be the main performer of the evening.

The Cayuga Nation of New York is the only Haudenosaunee group that does not have a reservation. However, in December 2005, the S.H.A.R.E. (Strengthening Haudenosaunee-American Relations through Education) Farm was signed over to the Cayuga nation by the US citizens who purchased the 70-acre farm in Aurora, NY. This is the first time the Cayuga have lived within the borders of their ancestral homeland in more than 200 years. We will learn about the struggle of the Cayuga for land rights and to reestablish their community in New York, as well as listen to Dan’s beautiful flute music.

A dinner of corn soup, chili, fry bread, strawberry drink, and pie/cobbler deserts will be served. Native artists will sell their wares and the audience will learn a Native social dance to end the evening. We invite the Syracuse community to attend this cultural sharing event and learn more about Beyond Boundaries.

Please contact Diana Green, 492-8035 or Terry Steele, 652-9453 for tickets ($15) or information.

– Diana Green