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Many Nations One Circle

Artists and friends of the town of Evansville are throwing a month-long party celebrating Minnesota's 150th year of statehood and honoring its Native American roots. The event is part of the "Many Nations One Circle" organization.

Many Nations One Circle was founded in January 2008. It is a three-year project sponsored by the Evansville Arts Coalition (EAC). This year, the Anishinabe people will be honored; in 2009 the focus will be on the Lakota and Winnebago people; and by 2010 the goal is to develop the work into a touring show that will be available to schools and community centers throughout a five-county area.

Many Nations One Circle is a diverse network of rural west central Minnesota artists and community organizations. Following is its mission statement:

"Building awareness and respect for all nations through the arts is our mission. Our work is to create a living tribute to the cultural life-ways of the Native people and the many immigrant groups who gave shape to our community.

"Many Nations One Circle is telling the story of life on the west central Minnesota prairie prior to the founding of the state."

As part of the project, a month-long Minnesota sesquicentennial celebration held June 3 to July 4 provides an opportunity for the public to experience hands-on participation in the construction of a public arts event. True-life oral histories will be interwoven with original, community-created music, storytelling and tribal arts, culminating in a 4th of July pageant and parade.

The schedule of remaining events is as follows:

• Thursdays to Saturdays through July 5 - Northern Minnesota Native American tribal art exhibit and sale at Evansville Arts Coalition.

• Fridays and Saturdays through July 4 at 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. - Campfire storytelling by Anishinabe storyteller and author, Anne Dunne, at the Evansville Historical Foundation (EHF) pioneer village site.

• Fridays and Saturdays through July 4 - Come at 7 p.m. and spend the night in a wigwam, listen to campfire storytelling and enjoy a traditional Anishinabe meal. Cost is $50 per adult and $25 per child (must be 6 years old and accompanied by an adult).

• Saturdays in June - children's arts and crafts taught by Anishinabe artists from 10 a.m. to noon at EAC. Remaining classes include a talking stick June 14; medicine pouch on June 21; and a beaded mandella on June 28.

• Sunday, June 22 - folkloric hymn sing at the EHF Pioneer Village Amphitheatre at 3 p.m. Songs will be led in Ojibwe, Swedish, Norwegian, German and Finnish.

• Friday, July 4 - Walk the Earth pageant and parade. The fate of two families, one Anishinabe and one of European immigrants, is told through music, song and dance. 10 a.m. - pageant at EHF Pioneer Village Amphitheatre; 1:30 p.m. - parade; 3 p.m. - The Turtle Hearts, Anishinabe children's dance performance, on the school grounds.

All events are free to the public except for the wigwam overnights. To participate in workshops, children's classes or overnights, call (218) 948-2787.

To learn more about Many Nations One Circle, visit the Web site

Partners in Many Nations One Circle include Diversity Action Resource Alliance, Evansville Arts Coalition, Evansville Historical Foundation, Sister Brave Heart Lodge, and historical societies and pubic schools in the five-county area.