Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians hosting competition with traditional native game

Snow Snake Competition takes place during World of Winter

GRAND RAPIDS – The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians is partnering with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. for a fun, engaging competition in a 500-year-old traditional game.

Part of the World of Winter festival in downtown Grand Rapids, beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 5, at Sixth Street Park, the Great Lakes Snow Snake Competition will involve throwing handmade, wooden “snakes” through a snow track to see who can send theirs the farthest.

Snow snake is a traditional 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.

“The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians is excited to bring this traditional game to World of Winter,” said Ron Yob, chairman of the Grand River Bands. “We invite the West Michigan community to experience part of our culture, learn a new game and join in the fun.”

Participants must construct their own snake to compete and practice snakes will be available for all to try. Tribal members from around the state are planning to attend and compete in the event, making it a fun spectator opportunity for those just looking to watch.

Registration for the Snow Snake Competition is free and begins at 11 a.m. The winning individual will earn a prize of $500. For more information, view the Facebook event page.

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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.