19th Annual - Native American Winter Games

Saturday, February 26, 2022- 10 am to 4 pm
Event will take place with or without snow

Free and Open to the public
Suggested donation $10 per family

During the long harsh winters in Western New York, the Seneca nestled in their bark longhouses to repair clothing, make tools and prepare for the spring. Despite the winter weather, Senecas remained active throughout the season. Many of the winter activities that traditionally occupied them outdoors are still in practice today.

Join us for Ganondagan's Native American Winter Games as a way to celebrate and discover the Seneca ways of winter through traditional Native American activities! PLUS...Visit the Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan as our guest. Enjoy complimentary admission to the Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan!

Outdoor Activities & Schedule

Dog Sledding Demonstrations 
Experience the thrill of watching Kindred Moon Kennels dog sled team racing across the snow.

Location: Outside in front of Seneca Art & Culture Center
Time: 11:30 AM- 3 PM

Maple Sugar Demonstration
Learn how Maple sap is processed into sugar with demonstrator Belinda Patterson (Tuscarora)
Location: Outside on the back plaza
Time: 11 AM - 3 PM

Snow Boats 
Seneca people would make solid wooden “boats” and race them down hills for fun. (Think of the “Pinewood Derby” from scouting) Channels would be made in the snow, one for each boat and then released four at a time down the snowy hills. 

A few loaner boats will be available for you to try out – but why not create your own snow-boat and bring it for a test run at Winter Games? Click on the link for plans and instructions to make your own snow boat.
Location: Outside back entrance to the SACC (Only with Snow)
Time: 11 AM - 3 PM

Enjoy the rare chance to try your hand at the game of Snowsnake, a Haudenosaunee sport steeped in tradition.
Location: Outside (with Snow), Inside SACC/No Snow
Time: 11 AM - 3 PM

Snow shoeing
Ganondagan has a limited number of snowshoes available for our guests to borrow. If you have your own snowshoes, be sure to bring them! Identification is required to borrow snowshoes with a 1-hour limit.
Location: Outside (Only with Snow) 
Time: 11 AM- 3 PM

Indoor Activities & Schedule


Join us for the traditional winter activity listening to Haudenosaunee stories as told by the amazing, Ronnie Reitter (Seneca, Wolf Clan).
Location: Auditorium   
Time: 11:30 AM & 2:30 PM (each session is for 30 minutes)
Gift of the White Tail Deer Learning Center
Learn about how every part of the White Tail Deer was used, with many of the uses still being utilized today. Antlers, bones, sinew, hide, fur, see and learn about these parts and more were used to create tools, jewelry, clothing, hair ornaments, notions (buttons, needles, etc.) as well as provide a source of food.
Location: Classroom 1
Time: 10 AM - 3:30 PM
Traditional Games with Bill Crouse
Join us to learn about and play traditional games with Bill Crouse (Seneca).
Location: Classroom 2
Time: 10:30 AM- 12 PM & 1:30 PM – 3 PM
Wampum Learning Center
See a variety of wampum belts, learn their meanings, how they are made, and how they are still culturally significant today.
Location: Classroom 1
Time: 10 AM - 3:30 PM
Iroquois White Corn inspired Foods
Delicious foods will be available for sale.
Location: Lobby
Time: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Iroquois Creation Story Film & Seneca Art & Culture Center Gallery 
If you haven't had the opportunity to see our award-winning short film, the Iroquois Creation Story, or to tour our gallery then today is great day to see them both!
Location: Orientation Theater & Gallery   
Time: 10 AM - 4 PM

Ronnie Reitter wearing ribbon dress and holding a cornhusk doll while telling a story on stage


Thank you to the Rochester Area Community Foundation who helped make this event possible