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Big Top Chautauqua Expands Native American Cultural Programming

A Lac du Flambeau native is teaching a workshop at Bayfield’s Big Top Chautauqua, as part of a series of workshops focusing on traditional Native American skills.

Lake Superior’s Big Top Chautauqua is making an effort to provide more Native American cultural programming, accessible to more people.  

Acclaimed musician and Lac du Flambeau tribal member Darren Thompson says he’s looking forward to offering a flute workshop later this month.  

“It allows me to share my heritage, it allows me to share the instrument with people," he described, "and I think that is one of the most beautiful things about culture, any culture, is that it’s shareable.  And people seem to be very supportive of that.”  


Thompson says it’s open to beginner and experienced flute players.  


Big Top Executive Director Terry Matier says the organization has always included Native American performers in its lineup.  


But it has recently branched out to make the programming accessible to more people.  


“I think everybody," she said. "It’s the people that live here; it’s young people.  And then it’s the visitors to the area here, that --I think they need to know about the rich culture that lives here, and the people that were here before us.”  

Many of the workshops are free.  They include birchbark crafts, Native American flute playing, and wigwam construction.  

Big Top Chautauqua is located near Lake Superior, between the Red Cliff and Bad River Reservations.  


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