FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Monday, Feb. 12, 2024
Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians hosting snow snake competition
Event, part of World of Winter festival, will showcase traditional game
GRAND RAPIDS – The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians is excited to host a family-friendly competition during the World of Winter festival in downtown Grand Rapids.
The tribe is inviting West Michigan residents and visitors to participate in the Great Lakes Snow Snake Competition on Saturday, Feb. 24, at Sixth Street Park, 647 Monroe Ave. NW. The game involves throwing a handmade, wooden “snake” through a snow track to see who can launch it the farthest.
“We are excited to partner with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. to showcase this traditional game and have a friendly competition,” said Ron Yob, chairman of the Grand River Bands. “We invite our community to compete for the grand prize, throw practice snakes or simply watch and enjoy.”
Snow snake is a traditional northern Native American winter sport that has been played by many tribes in the Great Lakes region. Snow snakes are made from carved pieces of wood, and for the competition, competitors must construct their own. Tribal members from across the state will attend and compete in the event, making it a fun spectator opportunity for those just looking to watch.
Registration begins at 11 a.m., with the competition starting at noon. People of all ages can participate, and practice snakes will be available for anyone to try.
Registration is free and the grand prize is $500 for this year’s competition. Learn more on the World of Winter website.
# # #
The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians is a native sovereign nation with agreements with the federal government dating back to 1795. The Grand River Bands originally included 19 bands of Ottawa people who lived along the Grand River and other waterways in southwest Michigan. Most of the Grand River Bands’ current membership resides in Kent, Muskegon and Oceana counties.
Washington ― The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians is leaning on Congress to act after the tribe has spent nearly 30 years trying to secure federal recognition that would give its members access to federal assistance and the authority to hold land as a tribe.
The bill, if passed, would recognize the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians on the federal level.
After nearly 30 years of back-and-forth with the Department of the Interior, the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians hopes a different tactic will help them achieve federal recognition.
A bipartisan group of Michigan’s congressional delegation aims to create a legislative pathway for the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians to gain federal recognition and circumvent a bureaucratic process that’s dragged out for nearly three decades.
A decades long push by a West Michigan Native American tribe to be recognized by the U.S. government, thereby giving members access to federal benefits, is taking a new approach.