Heath Hill (Wolf Clan) is excited to join the staff tasked with operating the Six Nations Agricultural Society Indian Village for the 2017 New York State Fair, which kicked off Aug. 23. Heath is the Assistant Superintendent of the village.
Heath’s main responsibilities consist of deciding what activities will take place each day, educating visitors about the Six Nations and the work of the Agricultural Society, and dealing with any potential hiccups or bumps in the road. The position also allows him an opportunity to give voice to others involved with the Indian Village.
“I was voted into this position; I didn’t apply for it,” Heath said describing his new role. “I get to voice the opinion of the dancers and vendors that are here every day.”
A dancer since the age of three, the Indian Village has become Heath’s second home. He’s danced at the Fair for the past eleven years and looks forward to the annual event. This time will be extra special, however, because the village unveiled its brand new Turtle Mound.
The new mound, where dancers perform three times each day, was rebuilt and includes a new backstage building so dancers can prepare ahead of performances. Heath was instrumental in raising funds for the Six Nations Agricultural Society, which helped support the new renovations.
Traditional dancing is an integral part of Haudenosaunee culture and it helps keep Heath grounded. “It’s my life. It keeps me healthy and young,” he said telling what dancing has meant to him over the years. “It connects me to the younger generation and it’s important to never lose that.”
The unveiling of the new Turtle Mound along with improvements to the kitchen in the Soup House will be welcomed highlights this year. The Fair is also a time for many people to catch up with old friends and to make new acquaintances, especially on Six Nations Day, Friday, Sept. 1, when all Native Americans may enter the Fair for free.
Heath couldn’t wait for the 2017 Fair to get started because it is so much like home for him. “It’s kind of like my vacation,” he said of the 13-day State Fair. “Seeing familiar faces is always the best part.”