White Cloud celebration a mix of new, traditional

The four days of White Cloud's Birthday and Tatanka Festival this year feature some new events along with the albino buffalo's traditional birthday celebration.

Sun file photo / John M. Steiner A Native American dancer performs last year at the National Buffalo Museum during the White Cloud birthday celebration.

The four days of White Cloud's Birthday and Tatanka Festival this year feature some new events along with the albino buffalo's traditional birthday celebration.

Beginning Thursday, July 8, and ending Sunday, July 11, a new event is the Métis-Native American Festival, which will put on performances twice a day all four days of the festival in the amphitheater at Frontier Village. Tina Busche, Frontier Village manager, said she saw the group in an appearance at the International Peace Gardens last year. She said the Métis is a little-known culture resulting from marriages between French fur trappers and Native American women more than 150 years ago. More prevalent in Canada, the blended culture occurred with marriages between the Chippewa and the trapper.

"Originally, Chief Little Shell allowed the trappers to marry into the Chippewa tribe," Busche said.

The Métis remain a separate culture within the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, speaking a mix of French and Chippewa called Mitchif. Its music and traditions are also a mix.

"I invited them here to show the different cultures," Busche said. "You have to see it to understand the difference."


She said people will see some traditional dancing of the Native American culture along with the fiddlers and jiggers of the Métis. There will be different displays and storytelling as well as arts and crafts.

"They'll bring the Red River ox cart and a teepee," she said.

The performances are scheduled at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Busche said she was told each performance would last an hour to an hour and a half.

The Métis festival performance headlines Thursday's events, which ends opening day with Dollar Night's reduced prices on rides, ice cream cones and admission to the National Buffalo Museum.

Museum Director Felicia Sargeant said the Tatanka Festival is a city-wide event starting on Friday, July 9.

"We have things happening at Frontier Village, the National Buffalo Museum, downtown and elsewhere," she said. "We don't have evening events scheduled as the fair (the Stutsman County Fair opens on Wednesday) has all kinds of fun events to attend in the evening."

Jamestown Parks and Recreation is again hosting a Kids Carnival from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday at the Buffalo Museum parking lot. And the Jamestown Classic Car Club celebrates its 30th anniversary with registration for its Buffalo Rally followed by Mainstreet Cruisin'. Out at its fairgrounds arena the James River Rodeo performance is at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Saturday, July 10, is White Cloud's 14th birthday and Sargeant said "the big day of the festival." A new event kicks it off. It's the first Pancake Feed Fundraiser for the Jamestown Fire Department. The volunteer firefighters will be serving from 7 a.m. to noon at the Fire Hall, 209 Second Ave. N.W.


The traditional White Cloud birthday parade, sponsored by the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce and the Jamestown Classic Car Club, is heading from Fifth Street near Concordia Lutheran Church south on First Avenue at 9:30 a.m.

"There's plenty of time before and after the parade to have breakfast at the Fire Hall," Sargeant said.

The Two Rivers Disc Golf Tournament is set for courses at Klaus Park and Jamestown Reservoir.

At Frontier Village, food vendors and crafters will fill the Buffalo Museum parking lot. Grilled buffalo burgers, hot dogs and polish sausage will be sold at the General Store and free birthday cake will be served at the museum. A Wild West Shootout is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the village.

From 1 to 5 p.m., children can paint fishing lures created on the pedal-powered lathe by Ray Tuholsky. The Arts Center is supplying the paint for the free lures in the event called Lures, Decoys and the People-Powered Peddler.

"He does this with kids at festivals all over," said Nina Sneider, executive director of the Buffalo City Tourism Foundation. Sneider met Tuholsky at a St. Cloud sports and travel show and asked him to participate in the White Cloud event.

"He doesn't charge for the lures. He's promoting fishing and he's promoting lures as art," she said. "His wife will bring wood products from her shop for people to purchase."

Teddy Roosevelt will also be making an appearance in the amphitheater from 1 to 3 p.m. Actually, it will be Steve Stark in his History Alive! portrayal of Roosevelt. Busche said she's heard it's an exciting performance with some storytelling in it.


"I'm looking forward to seeing him myself," Busche said. She said admission to the amphitheater events is a freewill donation.

Sunday, July 11, features the final Métis performances at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the amphitheater with food vendors and crafters in the museum parking lot. Downtown, the Stutsman County Memorial Museum will hold a Front Porch Chat at 2 p.m.

Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at

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