BILLINGS — It's a sight that catches the eye while driving down busy Fourth Avenue North in Billings: a teepee on the Red Oxx 406 Events Lawn.
"Welcome to Indian Country" will be held at the Red Oxx Saturday, Aug. 13 and will be the first of the seven-part Sukin Series put on by The Billings Symphony.
“The lodge seems to be the preferred symbol because it’s all about family. It’s about welcoming people, it’s all positive. Everything about the lodge is unique,” said founder of The Pretty Shield Foundation, William "Bill" Snell Jr., on Monday.
The Pretty Shield Foundation was named after Snell's grandmother.
“She was concerned about our way of life is disappearing. What do we do? So, this is one way of carrying on that legacy,” Snell said, gesturing to the lodge behind him.
The performance on Saturday will celebrate native culture through music and storytelling. Before the performance, The Pretty Shield Foundation will put up another teepee at 5 p.m.
“We are hoping to educate people, teach people, have them participate. We welcome them because, not just the American culture, but all cultures because that’s what creates unity, creates diversity and color to our life-ways,” Snell said.
The Billings Symphony is thrilled to bring this partnership to life this year.
“We are just delighted that we can, you know, work with Native artists and especially partnering with our neighbors,” said Executive Director Ignacio Barron Viela.
This is just one of the many cultures that the Billings Symphony will recognize through music. Other parts of the series will highlight people from around the globe.
“We believe that we are here to represent everyone and that’s what we are trying to do with this new series,” Viela said.
Along with the demonstration from Snell and his Volunteers, seven other performers will be live Saturday night celebrating their native culture, starting at 7 p.m.