The Annual “Drums Along the Hudson” Celebration Returns on June 12

The Annual “Drums Along the Hudson” Celebration Returns on June 12


The 14th Annual “Drums Along the Hudson: A Native American and Multicultural Celebration” will take place on Sunday, June 12th, in Upper Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park from 11:00 am until 6:00 p.m., rain or shine.

This event is free to the public and is presented by Lotus Music & Dance in collaboration with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, sponsored in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez. The host for the event will be Sandra Bookman, weekend anchor for WABC-TV and host of “Here and Now”. The afternoon host will be Patrick Riley Pop Culture Expert/Blogger. During the day, we take time out to honor individuals and organizations for their contributions to environmental and humanitarian causes.

Drums Along the Hudson” features Manhattan’s only open air pow wow, which is a celebratory gathering of Native American people that will be led by Louis Mofsie and the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers with Host Drums Heyna Second Sons and Silver Cloud. This multicultural family-oriented festival combines Native American heritage with the diversity of New York City with performances of world dance and drumming traditions. Special guest groups will include Seema Iyer, Bollywood Lawyer, Young Bucks Akwesasne Mohawk Singers and Dancers, Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli Aztec Dancers, Songhee Lee Korean Dance and Drumming and Harambee West African Dance Co. Activities also include Native American crafts, storytelling, international cuisine and for the second year, a World Market Tent. In keeping with the underlying theme of environmental awareness and education, Drums Along the Hudson will continue to feature an Environmental Tent and a free bicycle valet for attendees who ride their bike to the park.

During the day, they take time out to honor individuals and organizations for their contributions to environmental and humanitarian causes. This year they will honor The American Indian College Fund, President and CEO Cheryl Crazy Bull and Co-Founder of Miss Jessie’s Miko Branch.

To reach Inwood Hill Park, take the 1 train to 215th Street or the A train to 207th Street. The entrance to the park is at 218th Street and Indian Road, four blocks west of Broadway. By car, it is just north of the Dyckman Street exit off the Henry Hudson Parkway.

In September 2002, with a generous grant from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Kamala Cesar, Artistic Director of Lotus Music and Dance, and Carl Nelson, Producer, created “Drums Along the Hudson: A Native American Festival.” It began as a traditional Pow Wow to celebrate Native American heritage and culture, and also to commemorate the Lenape people who first inhabited Inwood Hill Park, or Shorakapok (“edge of the water”). This event first took place annually in the spring, thereafter they added something new and different each year to make the event more exciting and enjoyable — including a Shad tasting, a White Pine tree planting (the Iroquois symbol of peace), international foods, drummers and dancers and a Native American Arts in Education Initiative. The event has attracted attendees from 400 in the first year to over 8,000 in recent years.

In 2009, they established an Environmental Tent where attendees can learn more about practical ways to implement “green” living. Participating organizations have included the Audubon Society, Clean Air NY, Lower East Side Ecology Center, Hudsonia, the Council on the Environment of NYC and the Captain Planet Foundation with appearances by Captain Planet. This year there will be a free bicycle valet where attendees who ride their bikes to the park can have a valet park their bikes for them.