Su Nu Nu Shinal Dancers Scheduled to Perform Across Russia

The regional government of Krasnoyarsk, in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, has invited the Su Nu Nu Shinal dancers from the Kashia group at Fort Ross to perform at the 4th Annual Krasnoyarsk International Music Festival of the Asia-Pacific Region, "a cultural conversation of the people of Asian-Pacific region [establishing] bridges of friendship, mutual understanding and creative cooperation between representatives from different countries."

The festival, which runs from June 26 through July 4th, 2014, will host performers from 26 different countries!

We are excited and grateful to announce that the Russian Federation will cover all expenses for the thirteen adults and six youth performers in Su Nu Nu Shinal for the entire leg from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk and their return to St Petersburg.

The Renova Foundation and the Renova Fort Ross Foundation have underwritten their international airfare and have designed and sponsored a series of events and a special exhibit at the recently-opened Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow to highlight the dance group.

Reno Franklin, Kashia Tribal Chair, and Breck Parkman, Senior State Archaeologist with California State Parks, will be joining the performers in Moscow, and both are slated to speak at the Museum of Tolerance.

The US Consulate in St. Petersburg, who will also participate and attend the Krasnoyarsk Festival, has invited the dancers to perform in Petersburg following their stay in Krasnoyarsk.

This means the group will perform at three distinct cities across Russia!

It is remarkable that at this time of increased tension between our two countries, it is the Kashia's Su Nu Nu Shinal who are providing a diplomatic bridge between the Russian Federation and the United States.

Fort Ross Conservancy's Sarah Sweedler, whose organization facilitated this trip through grant writing and logistical support, will travel with the group. We have reached 80% of our funding goals for this journey. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution, 100% of which will go to supporting the remaining Su Nu Nu Shinal travel expenses,  please contact sarahs [at] fortross [dot] org or call our office at Fort Ross: 707/847-3437.

Schedule of Performances

  • Moscow: June 23rd and 24th: Lecture and performance at the Jewish Museum of Tolerance; visit the Russian Academy of Sciences.
  • Krasnoyarsk: June 26th through July 3rd: Perform and tour Krasnoyarsk. We will visit Krasnoyarsk’s cultural sites, meet with other native people attending the festival, and pay our respect at the grave of Nikolai Rezanov.
  • St Petersburg: July 4th: Visit the Kashia artifacts housed in the Kunstkamera (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography); speak at the Lermontov Library.
  • St Petersburg: July 5th: Perform inside the Peter and Paul Fortress, with support from the US Consulate.

The Su Nu Nu Shinal performers are extremely excited about this trip. As Billyrene Pinola describes it, they are especially invested because they wish to perform at the heart of Russian America, on lands where it's possible their ancestors once lived:

"We are Kashia Pomo and Coast Miwok, and we have been a group since the late 60's. Our performers are 7 to 62 years old, and some of us have been performing our traditional dances and songs for over 40 years. We have our artifacts in St. Petersburg that we hold dear to us. We would like to dance for the Kunstkamera to show them how we still use the regalia today that have been looked at by so many tourists across the years. We have a beautiful story with our Russian brothers and sisters. We do have DNA somewhere in Russia and we'd like to find it, and to dance on the lands where our people might have lived."

The Kashia first met the Russians 200 years ago when they allowed the Russian colonists to settle on Kashia land. The Russians and Kashia signed a treaty outlining their agreement, perhaps the only treaty between Euroamericans and California Indians that was honored, and this treaty made the Russian presence quite unique during this era.

For almost thirty years these people worked together in relative peace and stability, forming unions, trading expertise, and sharing language. To have the Russian Federation invite the Kashia to perform at a site historically tied to Russian America brings Russians, Americans, and the native Kashia together again full circle.

Partners and Sponsors

    The Russian Federation

    The Regional Government of Krasnoyarsk, Siberia

    Renova Group

    Renova Fort Ross Foundation

    Fort Ross Conservancy

    The US Consulate General in St. Petersburg, Russia

    Kunstkamera – Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Science

    Lermontov Public Library

    St. Petersburg History Museum, Peter and Paul Fortress

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