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By Fred Shonk
The Southside’s diverse culture was celebrated Saturday during the Perry Cultural Festival at Baxter YMCA.
This year’s theme was “Celebrations,” and there was a big emphasis on education and how cultures around the world commemorate life. There was entertainment, music, games, crafts, an art show, food trucks and much more.
In Perry Township Schools alone, students originate from 67 countries, which amounts to about 73 different languages. A ceremony at the beginning of the festival featured the flags of those countries.
The Burmese population in Indiana in 2016 was 22,171, and more than 15,000 of those people lived in Indianapolis. The Chin are one of the major ethnic nationalities in Burma.
The Tapalot Native American Fellowship was represented at the festival. Tapalot means love in the Miami American Indian language. Members of the Miami Nation of Indians in Peru, Ind., were also part of the festival.
Fred Shaw, a native American storyteller of the Shawnee tribe of Cincinnati, entertained folks with wonderful stories.
The festival was launched last year by Perry Township Schools, the University of Indianapolis and the Y. New sponsors this year included the International Center, the Christel DeHaan Family Center, Indy Eleven, Indiana Futsal and the Greater Southside Business Alliance.
This was an amazing festival; it’s sure to grow and educate for years to come.
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