The public is invited to join Dakota elders for a "Summer of Paddling" event that will take place Saturday on the backwaters of the Mississippi River. The free event is being held in conjunction with the 9th Annual Great Dakota Gathering and Homecoming that is being held this weekend in Winona. The journey will take participants through the Mississippi backwaters where participants will learn about the history and stories of the river. Paddlers of every level of experience are welcome to join. Although all paddling equipment will be provided, the event is not appropriate for children under the age of six. Participants meet at the Prairie Island boat ramp at 12:45 p.m. with the launch at 1:00 p.m. It's being co-sponsored by the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and the Winona Dakota Unity Alliance You are asked to register in advance calling 458-3387.