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Canku Ota
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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Gahwéñhda' (Snowsnake) Returns To Onondaga Nation School
by LaFayette Central School District

Onondaga Nation- Winter has decided to make its mark on our memory this year with lots of sub zero temperatures and many snow days. It was so cold that our annual community give has been postponed to later in March. But with the deep snow and cold temps has created ideal snowsnake conditions.

"The kids have been asking when we were going to have Snow snake this year," said Brad Powless the culture teacher at the school. "They've been seeing all of that snow and have been just itching to play."

Snowsnake is a traditional Haudenosaunee game where men try to throw thinly carved sticks down a track of snow the furthest. Shannon Booth, Roger Cook, Kevin Powless, Butch Elm, Ed Shenandoah, and Alfie Jacques have come to share this game with the students at ONS.

"I love to play this game," said Shannon Booth. "It was a favorite memory of mine shooting snow snake at ONS. It is a good feeling to bring it back."

When Shannon was a student at ONS, his uncle Edward Shenandoah, would carve snow snakes for the men in the community. He then took the time to carve some sticks for the kids at ONS to start the program. When he passed, the program stopped.

"I thought that we needed to continue teaching our kids about the game," added Shannon Booth. "Then a few years ago, we found some of Ed's old sticks that he carved for the school. They are real treasures and they can still fly down the track."

The three day event comes to a close on Thursday, March 05, 2015. After practicing multiple times for two days, the third day allows the students to show off their skills. The farthest throw from each class will be recognized and recorded on a plaque.

"The competition is fun but the kids really get into the challenge of improving each year," says Mr. Powless.

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