Oct 6, 2014

Smokin' Joe's Native Center in Niagara Falls USA

John and I love to stop in Niagara Falls whenever possible.  The Seneca Niagara Casino is our favorite place stay because of the many things to do in the hotel and nearby.  Besides the gaming the restaurants are excellent and so it the spa. I also like all the Native American touches.  In the lobby there is a large statue of an eagle with the Hiawatha Belt carved in the wings.
 The Hiawatha Belt has a pine tree in the middle to represent the sacred tree and the Onondagas who are the “Keepers of the Flame.” The symbols on the side represent the other four nations of the original Iroquois confederacy: the Senecas, Cayugas, Oneidas and the Mohawk. There is a lot of Native American artwork throughout the casino.

After we checked in I had time to go to the spa for a relaxing manicure/pedicure and then we set out to check out one of the newest attractions in The Falls. From the hotel we walked down the pedestrian mall to Smokin’ Joe’s Native American Center for their show.  It is the newest attraction at Niagara Falls and a favorite tour bus stop especially for foreign groups.  It is difficult to
connect with the Native culture so this is a great new venue for Americans and foreigners.  The show called “The Spirit of the Mist” is billed as the “Longest running Native American Dance Show in Niagara Falls, USA and North America”; however, it has only been open since 2013. That is an indication of the dearth of Native American cultural experiences available anywhere.  Such a presentation is great for learning about and preserving a culture. 

The multimedia show is vibrant in costuming, music and dance. The presentation is called a “spirit” journey.  One dance calls on the
power of thunder before heading off to battle.  Another invokes the lilting sounds of the native flute to woo a loved one. The eagle, an important symbol in native culture, carries all prayers to the Creator. During the dance of the buffalo hunt the buffalo is honored for providing food, clothing and tools.  The dancers are all professionals in elaborate costumes with the Hoop Dance being an amazing display of dexterity and skill. The sound of the drum in all the presentations helps to tell the story and is said to represent the heartbeat. 

Smokin’ Joe is the tag name of Joseph Anderson who started a smoke shop that has now grown into the Native Center with a retail area divided into one featuring handcrafted Native American articles while the other is basically Niagara Falls souvenirs. There is also a restaurant and other facets of the Center. The show is a do-not miss with at least one presentation each night and an excellent addition to Niagara Falls USA. 

On the way back to Seneca Niagara Casino we stopped in the
pedestrian mall to listen to some excellent country music.  It is another example of fun things to do in Niagara Falls besides all the thrilling experiences associated with the waterfalls – most of which we have done but they are always fun no matter how many times they are experienced. 

At the hotel the musical evening continued at the new trendy Stir Stage, where they feature live performers. It is adjacent to the casino floor.  Our musical evening included Native American, country and ended with an all-girl group from Canada playing contemporary rock.