Seniors Elizabeth Witbeck and Darcy Lepore, with Scarlett Emerson, Project Assistant in the Intercultural Affairs office, volunteered at the Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor during “A Seneca Encounter With LaSalle” on Saturday, Sept. 26.
The historical reenactment was attended by mostly 4th grade students from several area schools and included several exhibits, vendors and demonstrations to help share the history of the historic site.
Ganondagan is the site of a Native American community that was once a vibrant Seneca village. Today, the site is dedicated to preserving and promoting a message of peace through programming and events focusing on Seneca art, culture and history.
This past weekend’s event featured a re-enactment of the visit of Renee Robert Chevalier Sieur de LaSalle to the Senecas at Ganondagan more than 300 years ago. LaSalle, an explorer, was seeking a route to the “great river” that would lead him to China. At Ganondagan, it is said he brought gifts and stayed in the village for more than a month while waiting for a guide through the territory.
Witbeck, Lepore and Emerson spent the day working at the admission desk answering questions and directing folks to the various activities. Lepore also spent time helping children at the javelin throw.
“I think that the longhouse was my favorite part. The re-enactors stayed there, and because of that it really felt lived in, almost like stepping into the past,” says Lepore. “Volunteering at Ganondagan was a worthwhile experience. It was great to see so many elementary school students learning about the Native American culture.”
Witbeck agrees. “The trip to Ganondagan truly showed a blending of cultures. From the historical reenactment depicting the Seneca, Dutch, and French peoples to the modern day preservation of this land, Ganondagan made me aware of what it means to be a global citizen, even throughout history.”
The HWS Ganondagan Volunteer Day was one in a series of events planned this semester in conjunction with the “Lacrosse: The Creator’s Game” conference.