Labor Day pow wow to be held in Tusayan

Ceremonial dancers from five Indian Nations will gather here on Labor Day weekend for the fifth annual Grand Canyon South Rim Native American Ceremonial Pow Wow and Hoop Dancing Contest. It will be held on the grounds at the Native American art show between McDonald's and the Grand Hotel in Tusayan.

"This comes from the old days where the Native Americans used to get together for trading and to have a good time," said local businessman and Navajo medicine man James Peshlakai, who is organizing the gathering. "This is open to everyone, cowboys and Indians."

The three-day event kicks off on Saturday Sept. 3 with a ceremonial Pow Wow and frybread contest, Sunday will feature the Jameson "Sonny" Peshlakai Hoop Dance Contest with dance competitions for Tiny Tots, Juniors, Teens, Adults and Seniors.  There is no charge to attend the Pow Wow.

Traditional and contemporary silversmithing, clay arts, weaving and sculpture will be available for purchase each day as artists display their art and demonstrate their crafts.

The schedule is as follows

Saturday, Sept. 3

10 a.m. ­ Opening Ceremony with White Mountain Apache Spirit Dancers, Hopi Eagle Dancers, Havasupai Ram Dancers, Hualapai Bird Dancers and Navajo Hoop Dancers

12 p.m. ­ Earth Oven Roast Beef Luncheon

2 p.m. ­ Fry Bread Contest

4 p.m. ­ Ceremonial Pow-Wow

Sunday, Sept. 4

10 a.m. ­ Open Pow Wow

12 p.m. ­ Earth Oven Roast Beef Luncheon

2 p.m. ­ Fifth Annual Hoop Dance Contest

Monday, Sept. 5

Cowboys and Indians Music Day

10 a.m. ­ Mike open to all regardless of heritage

4 p.m ­ Special Thanks Awards and Recognitions

5 p.m. ­ Earth Oven Roast Beef Dinner

"We look forward to bringing people together to celebrate the Indian ways," said James' wife Mae. "The Grand Canyon has been a traditional gathering place for the tribes and now we have visitors from all around the world. We welcome all who wish to honor the traditional culture of the Native people."

James says organizing the pow wow has been difficult this year, due to health issues and an upcoming surgery. Any help would be welcome.

"If there are people who want to help, we need people," he said.

 The Peshlakai Cultural Foundation, which was recently recognized by author Tony Hillerman in the forward to his book "The Wailing Wind," organizes the annual Labor Day Pow Wow to honor the memory of the beautiful dancer, Jameson "Sonny" Peshlakai, and all other Native American artists who preserve the traditional ways. 

For more information contact Jamescita Peshlakai at 928-606-4998 or 928-606-3187.

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