TUSAYAN — The inaugural Grand Canyon South Rim Native American Art Show and Ceremonial Pow Wow appeared to be success and will return next year, organizer James Peshlakai said.
The South Rim Native American Art Show and Ceremonial Pow Wow will likely return next year, organizer James Peshlakai said about the Labor Day weekend event. This was the first year of the pow wow and art show. Above, one of the ceremonial dancers entertains the crowd.
The four-day event over Labor Day weekend broke even financially. Peshlakai said there were approximately 500 visitors per day for a total of 2,000. In all, 21 spaces were sold to 27 artists and vendors.
"The event broke even but the artists and vendors all had a wonderful time and made a profit," Peshlakai said. "All are wanting to return next year and are wishing the same spot. Some visitors sent messages of how much they enjoyed the event."
The event included Native American dancers from various tribes participating in activities such as the pow wow and hoop dance contest.
The Supai Ram Dancers performed the "Guardians of the Canyon." Others included bird dancers from the Hualapai tribe; the Mountain Spirit Dancers from the Apache tribe; eagle dancers from the Hopi tribe; the Great Plains Dancers from the Sioux tribe and eagle-butterfly dancers from the Navajo.
Peshlakai said even the California condors showed up every day for the festivities.
In the first edition of the Jameson "Sonny" Peshlakai Hoop Dance Contest, winners were determined in the three divisions.
o Nakota LaRance took first in the Junior Boys division, followed by Cody Howard and Cree LaRance.
o In Junior Girls, Neshah Yellowhorse won first place.
o Jonas Benally took first in the Seniors division.
Peshlakai cited several sponsors for their participation in the event. Among those were the Grand Hotel-Canyon Star Restaurant, Grand Canyon Post Office, the Holiday Inn, Red Feather Lodge, Wendy’s Restaurant and Shamrock Foods. The Grand Hotel donated $3,000; Emma Danciger donated $5,000 and Ron Williams of AirStar Helicopters donated six flights. John Berend also donated a photo for the poster.
Each of the participating tribes also donated $200 to the event.
Highlights of the four-day event:
o The U.S. Postal Service issued a Jameson "Sonny" Peshlakai cancellation stamp for Sept. 2. Michelle Hart of the Arizona Regional Office was on hand to be honored by the committee for the occasion.
o Jones Benally was the oldest contestant for the Hoop Dance Contest and according to Peshlakai, he stole the show. Benally is an 83-year-old Navajo from Black Mesa.
o Bob Albano, managing editor of "Arizona Highways" magazine attended to witness the first-time ever that Native Americans in this region had gotten back together to hold their ceremonial pow wow and trading since President Theodore Roosevelt removed them from this region.
o Mike Alcott, Navajo, was the first teacher for the newly-founded Peshlakai Cultural Foundation. Alcott taught the audience how to raise a teepee.
o Albano and his wife were the first couple to be wed in the new teepee, renewing their vows for another 35 years. Peshlakai officiated the wedding.
o The Peshlakai family honored individuals who influenced their son’s life at the Jameson "Sonny" Peshlakai Memorial Hoop Dance Contest — Jonas Benally, Buck Schrader, John Rueter, Bud Morrison, Tom and Mary Ann Mace, Lorenzo Morez and his wife, Emma and David Danciger, Larry Thomas and Mike Finney.
The event, which included volunteering and organization from various local sources, served as a fund-raiser for the Peshlakai Cultural Foundation, committed to the preservation of Native American culture.