Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians hosting snow snake competition

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. 

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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.