2009 May/June Happening (Events)
Red Earth: Heart of Indian Country
Cheyenne Peace Chiefs participate in the Red Earth Parade to celebrate the opening of the Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival in downtown Oklahoma City. Courtesy Red Earth, Inc.
Soon the eyes and ears of the Indian world will turn to Oklahoma City and the 23rd annual staging of Red Earth, June 5–7. Selected as the state’s most outstanding public event by the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department, Red Earth includes a parade in downtown Oklahoma City, a major contest powwow, a juried arts and crafts show, and other related events.
“Part of our success,” explains Eric Oesch, director of communications for the nonprofit group, “is our location. There are 39 tribes in Oklahoma, more than in any other state, so we have a plethora of talent to draw from. That was our original intent—to feature our local stars—but today we also have artists and dancers from as far away as Canada, Florida, Wisconsin and the Southwest. We also get a lot of support from the state’s tourism department, as tourism is the third largest industry in Oklahoma. It’s not uncommon to hear Japanese and German spoken among event visitors. Another draw is the fact we are located right downtown, which has undergone a billion-dollar redevelopment in the past few years, and we’re within walking distance to many other attractions.”
Red Earth 2009 will begin on Friday morning, June 5, with a downtown parade featuring individuals from more than 100 tribes, each in full regalia. The juried art market of some 200 artists opens at 11 a.m. at the Cox Convention Center, with a diverse range of works. Last year’s Best of Show winner was Navajo jeweler Benson Manygoats (see story p. 23), while Joel Queen (Cherokee) took the President’s Award for his hand-paddled and stamped, pit-fired pot.
The powwow’s first Grand Entry, at noon, follows the parade. Additional Grand Entries will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, at noon and 7 p.m. on Saturday, and at noon on Sunday. The powwow is noted for attracting a great selection of dancers and drum groups of both the southern and northern styles.
A 5K run and a 2-mile walk, open to people of all ages and abilities, will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday on the Regatta Park River Trails bordering the Oklahoma River. Also on tap will be children’s activities, storytelling, musical performances and Native and non-Native foods.
In addition to Red Earth’s events, the nearby Oklahoma History Center will be featuring a great selection of sculpture by Allan Houser (Chiricahua Apache) during this weekend, and the University of Oklahoma’s Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, located in Norman, will be unveiling a breathtaking collection of recently donated works from Dr. Rennard Strickland (Osage/Cherokee). Another attraction is the organization’s Red Earth Museum, located within the Science Museum Oklahoma. The 1,400-item body of works includes the Deupree Cradleboard Collection, one of the finest collections of its kind in the world.
Tickets for Red Earth can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com, at the Cox Convention Center ticket office (800/745-3000) or at the door. A three-day pass for adults (ages 18 to 59) will cost $20; for senior citizens (60 and older) $15; for children and youth (ages 6 to 17) $5. Children under 5 are free. A one-day pass for adults is $10. For additional information, contact Red Earth, Inc. at 405/427-5228 or visit www.redearth.org.
Truck on over to the Four Corners Indian Art Festival, May 2, 9 a.m.–6 p.m., at Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum in Blanding, UT. This year’s event will feature about 45 artists, live music and dancing all day, artist demonstrations, children’s activities and artist awards. 435/678-2238 or http://stateparks.utah.gov/stateparks/parks/edge-of-the-cedars
Feel the beat at the Stanford Powwow, May 8–10, Eucalyptus Grove, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, which will go on rain or shine. A live broadcast of the event also can be followed. http://powwow.stanford.edu
Get dolled up for An Evening at Sharlot’s Place, May 9, 3:30–7 p.m., Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, AZ, the museum’s major annual fund-raiser. Enjoy live and silent auctions with donated artworks and other items, plus music and good food. Tickets are $40 per person or $60 per couple. 928/445-3122 or www.sharlot.org
Drop by the 15th annual New York International Tribal & Textile Arts Show, May 14–17, 69th Regiment Armory, New York City. Some 75 dealers and galleries will display pre-1940 fine arts, artifacts, antiques, and carpets and textiles of Native cultures of the Americas, Oceania, Asia and Africa. 310/455-2886 or www.caskeylees.com/shows/9/tribal/ny/
Paddle to the seventh annual Drums Along the Hudson Festival, May 17, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Inwood Hill Park (215th St. at Indian Road) in Manhattan, held on grounds on the former Lenape village of Shorakapok. Louis Mofsie (Hopi/Winnebago) and the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers will lead this year’s event. Free admission. www.drumsalongthehudson.org
Don’t miss the fifth annual invitational Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival, May 23–24, Santa Fe Convention Center, Santa Fe, NM, with more than 170 leading artists from some 40 tribes, including 80 new artists. A pre-event gala and sale kicks off the event, which benefits the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. The gala is Friday evening, May 22 (tickets $75 per person) and features a wine bar, excellent hors d’oeuvres and live music, plus this year’s featured artist, sculptor Upton Ethelbah (Santa Clara Pueblo/White Mt. Apache). Live music and dance, plus excellent food, will also be provided on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5 on Saturday, free on Sunday. Tickets: 505/982-6366, ext. 112. Details:www.nativetreasuressantafe.org
Skedaddle to the fifth annual Southwest Indian Arts Festival, May 30–31, Smoki Museum, Prescott, AZ, featuring two dozen artists, live music, dancing and traditional foods throughout the weekend. Admission: $5 adults. 928/445-1230 or www.smokimuseum.org
Support the 20th-anniversary celebration of the American Indian College Fund, June 4, Colorado History Museum, Denver. The event will include performances by dance and drum groups and a fine-arts auction. The museum, including its exhibit Tribal Paths: Colorado’s American Indians, 1500 to Today, will be open as well. 303/426-8900, ext. 308 or www.collegefund.org
Jingle over to the 41st annual Alabama-Coushatta Powwow, June 5–6, 90 miles northeast of Houston, TX between Livingston and Woodville on U.S. Hwy. 190. Host southern drum is Cozad; host northern drum is Sage Point. Special contests include tiny tots, mother/daughter and grandmother/granddaughter, grass dance and a men’s longest hair division. Grand entries are set for 7:30 p.m. each evening. 936/563-1120 or www.alabama-coushatta.com
Float over to the 63rd annual Lummi Stommish Canoe Races, June 11–14, near Bellingham, WA, with war canoe races, traditional singing and dancing, bone games, fireworks, a carnival, arts and crafts, concerts, a beauty pageant and many more activities. www.stommish.com
Spend a day at the 19th annual Celebration: A Gathering of Four Directions, June 13–14, Fort Ancient National Historic Site, Lebanon, OH (30 miles northeast of Cincinnati), which includes a powwow with more than 100 dancers and five drum groups; vendors selling jewelry, knives, clothing, dance staffs, finger woven sashes, beadwork, leather bags and flutes; storytelling and activities for children; and arts and crafts demonstrations, including flint knapping and finger weaving. Try your hand at fire-making, archery and use of a hand-pump drill. The site was first occupied more than 2,000 years ago; its earthen walls, built by the Hopewell people (ca. 100 B.C.–A.D. 600), enclose some 100 acres atop a hill overlooking the scenic Little Miami River. It includes a 9,000-square-foot museum; reconstructed gardens of sunflowers, goosefoot, corn, gourds, tobacco and other crops; and three miles of hiking trails. Opening May 23 is one of the world’s longest zip lines. Admission to the Gathering is $9 for adults, $5 for children. 800/283-8904
Brush up on your French for the 20th annual First Peoples’ Festival, mid-June, Montréal, Canada. This major gathering will include its unusual outdoors arts and crafts fair, with some 70 artists displaying and demonstrating regional artistic specialties (such as birchbark biting, leather crafts, basketry and fur goods from the far north); a free outdoor concert on the evening of June 20, featuring 12 guitarists performing a new composition by Atikamekw musician Pascal Kokoci Sasseville, along with the lovely and talented Elisapie Isaac (Inuit), followed by a screening of the Oscar-nominated film The Necessities of Life with Inuit actor Natar Ungalaaq; a film festival with some 70 works; an exhibition of 14 Native artists in the city’s main library; performances by young Cree musician Melissa Pash; a film awards ceremony; observances of National Aboriginal Day on June 21; and still other events. 514/278-4224 or www.nativelynx.qc.ca
Buck on over to Buffalo Bill Days & Wild West Show, June 25–28, Sheridan Heritage Center, Sheridan, WY. The event has an Indian subcurrent, as the original Buffalo Bill employed many Indians in his famous Wild West Show. Events include a living history night, a grand ball, non-motorized parade and a reprised Wild West Show. 307/674-2178 or www.buffalobilldays.org