Festival of the Americas brings traditional drum beats, art and dance to Kayenta – St. George News

Evans — Drums can be heard in Kayantah over the weekend as Native American cultures come together to celebrate Americas Festival.

Performers share their culture at the Festival of the Americas in Keyenta, Utah on May 14, 2022 | Photo by Stephanie DeGraw of St. George News

In its second year, the event, hosted by the Kayenta Arts Foundation, aims to bring the community together for a weekend of art, music and dance as a way to share with each other and keep traditions alive.

“About three years ago, Foundation members and the board are talking about the Shivwits Paiute band next door to us, and other Paiute bands in southern Utah. “ Kayenta Art Foundation.

He said they were asking questions like, “How can we build a bridge? How can we be closer to our neighbors?”

To that end, the foundation set out to host a festival celebrating Native American culture, arts and customs. Last year was the opening of the festival, held at the Kayenta Art Village in Ivans.

This year, 30 artisans from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California and Mexico showcased their work, including ceramics, sculpture, basketry, jewelry, painting, metal, wood and fiber .

Each artist donated an original artwork to the Silent Auction, which supports the Festival of the Americas Scholarship Fund administered by the Kayenta Art Foundation.

In addition to vendors, there are performances throughout the festival that showcase Native American customs. Audiences can hear jingles or drums. Various performers shared their talents on stage.

May 14, 2022 Cayanta, Utah, each artist donates an original work to Silent Auction in support of the Festival of the Americas Scholarship Fund administered by the Cayanta Art Foundation | Photo by Stephanie of St. George News Photo by DeGraw

One of the dancers, Meredith Schramm of the Omaha Nation Tribe in Omaha, Nebraska, performed snare, fancy and jingle during the festival, telling the St. George News , what it means for her to perform these traditional dances.

“I love sharing and educating about my culture and other Native American cultures,” Schramm said. “I’m so happy to be here today and do it for you too. It’s a jingle dance. Traditionally, There is no tin lid on the skirt of this dance; it is a deer hoof or a shell. “

Schramm currently lives in Utah County and is a middle school teacher. She and her husband have three daughters, and she continues the tradition by teaching them to dance.

Another purpose of the three-day event is to raise money for the Native American Scholarship Fund, Goodman said.

“We can help send Native American students who finish high school to college or trade school,” he said. “Education is very important in all communities, but especially in Native American communities.”

More than $4,000 in scholarships were spread out last year, and organizers hope to continue increasing this amount each year. To be eligible for the scholarship, you must be a Native American student living in Utah. Part of the scholarship helps fund higher education at a school in the state, Goodman said.

The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah kicked off the festival Friday with youth dancing, community waltzes and flute and drum performances. In the evening, speakers shared historical information about the powwows and local tribes.

On Saturday night, the Adrian Wall trio gave a concert. A member of the Jemez tribe, the Pueblo, Wall is also an award-winning musician, producer, and visual artist from New Mexico.

Goodman said he considers the event an overall success.

“This year, we’ve been very, very happy with the turnout and crowds and really look forward to building bridges between us and the Native American community in southern Utah,” he said.

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