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Exhibit closing day to feature a taste of Native American culture

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – On its closing day, the current special exhibit at Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum will offer visitors a taste as well as a view of Native American culture.

The last day for “Pathways of Tradition: Native American Footwear 1860-1930” to be on display is Sunday, Jan. 25, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Guest curators John Torline, North Newton, and Keven Hiebert, Goessel, assembled the collection of moccasins and boots, which has been open to the public since the end of September. For January 25 only, Hiebert will erect a small tipi on the Kauffman Museum prairie.

On January 25, museum visitors can try some traditional frybread with chokecherry sauce. The chokecherries come from the Hiebert farm south of Goessel and Keven Hiebert and his wife Debra Hiebert, director of the Harvey County Historical Museum, made the sauce.

The chokecherry is a shrub native to North America and closely related to the black cherry. Plains Indians traditionally pounded chokecherries, pits and all, into a fresh fruit sauce or dried the fruit for consumption during the winter. The Sioux call chokecherry sauce “wojapi” (wo-ZHA-pee). It consists of cooked cherries sweetened to taste and thickened with flour or cornstarch.

Frybread is a flatbread leavened with baking powder and fried in a skillet. Today, frybread with chokecherry sauce is a favorite treat in many Native American homes and at gatherings like powwows. Kauffman Museum Director Rachel Pannabecker and volunteers will make the frybread.

Museum visitors will also be able to hear traditional music by Darrel Grubbs and friends, who participate in Plains Indian drumming groups. Grubbs, of Hutchinson, is descended from the Caddo, a nation related to the Wichita and Pawnee.

Also on January 25, Keven Hiebert and Torline will offer appraisals of Native American items brought in by the public – for example, Southwestern pottery, Indian baskets, Navajo rugs, beaded items, weapons, clothing or jewelry

The event is free to Kauffman Museum members and included with the regular price of admission for all others: $4 for adults and $2 for children 6-16 (under 6 free).

Regular Kauffman Museum hours are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tues.-Fri., and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. The admission price includes the permanent exhibits “Of Land and People,” “Mirror of the Martyrs” and “Mennonite Immigrant Furniture.” For more information, call the museum at 316-283-1612 or visit its Web site, www.bethelks.edu/kauffman/.

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