By Keith Knepp
Chautauqua-Wawasee, in collaboration with the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum, held its third annual series of three programs to explore the history of native Americans in northeastern Indiana this week. The programs were presented over a three-day period, culminating on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 4, at the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation in Syracuse.
All of the programming, which included hour-long presentations on Thursday and Friday evenings at the Syracuse Community Center, were provided free to the public and featured presenters with expert knowledge who provided an interactive environment for discussion and hands-on examination of artifacts.
On Saturday, the programming began with a presentation by Dani Tippmann on “Myaamia (Miami Native American) Plant Traditions.” Tippmann provided a 90 minute presentation to around 20 people on the lives of plants in Myaamia history.
Following Tippmann’s presentation, visitors had the opportunity to visit several displays and interact with presenters who provided expert knowledge on the subjects.
A favorite of the morning was Joe Zdziebko, dressed as a 1750s French Marine, who discussed his equipment, uniform, musket, various furs and maps that he brought with him for display. He also discussed old sayings that are still used today.
Jeff Mesaros led a flintknapping demonstration in which visitors could learn how native Americans made their tools by hand. Guests had the opportunity for a hands-on experience on the process of creating usable instruments.
Mike Smith of Lake Wawasee was on hand to display his hand-built 17-foot wooden sea kayak. Visitors had the opportunity to speak with Smith on how he created the beautiful vessel.
Finally, Jamie Clemons offered the opportunity for children to “dig” for artifacts while documenting their findings through drawings and notes.
For more information about Chautauqua-Wawasee, visit www.chautauquawawasee.org, or their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CautauquaWawasee. To learn more about the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum, go to www.syracusemuseum.org.