A local landmark to local indigenous culture celebrated its 50th birthday Sunday.
Ska-Nah-Doht Village and Museum recreates a Haudenosaunee Village to around 1000 CE.
Along with free admission, traditional vendors and foods were offered to visitors.
Local vendors and dignitaries included members of the Oneida Nation of the Thames.
Looking over a long house, Chief Todd Cornelius expressed a spiritual tie between the present and the past.
“It kind of brings us to the day how we used to live, how we all got along, how we all shared our food,” he said.
Ska-Nah-Doht opened in 1973 nearby two, and with a later discovery, three Haudensaunee Villages. Its primary purpose is education.
Chief Todd Cornelius as seen on Aug. 13, 2023. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)Its structures and defenses remain impressive to this day for both its functionality and renewable materials.
“People are trying to get those ways back some of those ways today, and using our natural resources. Like how simple it is to just grab a tree and build a fence just like that”, stated Janice Ninham, a member of Oneida.
While the primary focus of the anniversary is the village, three log cabins on the site operated by the Lower Thames River Conservation Authority are undergoing renewal.
Previously only open for special occasions, the cabins are being converted into accessible interpretive centres, according to Allison Klages, the museum’s curator.
Curator Allison Klages as seen on Aug. 13, 2023. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)“As we launch into the next 50, were are working on ways we can bring in the heritage of the Chippewa of the Thames First Nation as well as Muncey-Delaware First Nation and not just focus on the Haudenosaunee whose local community would be the Oneida Nation of the Thames.”
And as the next 50 years commence, it’s hoped the future solidifies a legacy.
“It puts us on the map to say we’re still here, we’re not leaving and that’s how it’s always going to be,” shared one visiting vendor of traditional beadwork.
“Ska-Nat-Doht has been doing so much for our community in regards to what happened so long ago, and we’re so grateful that it is here to preserve and educate the municipalities and community members that want to learn more about Oneida,” concluded Chief Cornelius.
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