Free noontime festivals explore Native American song, dance and culture
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Oct. 12, 2015) – Explore the cultural and environmental footprint of the Southwest’s Native American nations during the 14th season of Native Trails, presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and produced by the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. Through song, dance and storytelling during free noontime performances January through March, Native Trails will share with audiences a message passed on to tribal youth – the importance of preserving and conserving the land and its resources.
“Some of my fondest memories are from when I was a child, spending time with my grandparents,” said Derrick Suwaima Davis (Hopi/Choctaw), artistic director for Native Trails and seven-time hoop dance world champion. “There was no running water, no electricity, yet we worked with the environment to live. As Native people, we were inspired by nature and given the responsibility of stewardship. Through our song, dance, food, architecture, and being in harmony with nature – working with the seasons, the sun and the moon – we desired prosperity for all beings and for everyone to reach their full potential. Today I believe in doing the best I can with the least amount, and incorporating the traditional ways I was taught, while encouraging healthy behavior and a prosperous life for future generations and all on the circle of life.
For centuries, Native Americans have lived off the land, even as the world has evolved and brought new challenges to the environment. Tribal elders continue to show younger generations their traditional ways, teaching them to lead healthy lives while respecting and working in harmony with nature. This year, Native Trails shares a message of stewardship through the songs and dances of various tribes including the Hopi, Diné (Navajo), Akimel Au-Authm and San Carlos Apache.
Enjoy these free noontime performances on the lawn at Scottsdale Civic Center Park most Thursdays and Saturdays between Jan. 9 and March 31, 2016. Elaborate performances showcase a variety of dances, including the intricate Hoop Dance and the Round Dance, an audience-participation dance celebrating the connection of all people and cultures.
“The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation is proud to once again be the title sponsor of Native Trails,” said the Nation’s President Ruben Balderas. “The Tribal Council knows local residents and visitors alike will enjoy learning about the various native tribal cultures and partaking in the exciting exhibits and shows. Native Trails is truly a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience."
Delve further into American Indian culture while visiting with vendors and artisans selling jewelry, baskets, pottery, instruments and paintings at the festivals. Every Saturday, featured artisans will share their trade with the audience. Don’t forget to get a taste of indigenous cuisine at participating food trucks.
Native Trails performances began in January 2003 as part of the City of Scottsdale’s cultural tourism initiative, Culture Quest Scottsdale. The program was created following a City-conducted study that revealed Scottsdale tourists craved experiencing American Indian culture during their visit. That has proved true each season; last season (January – April 2015), 6,497 people attended the event.
For more information on Native Trails (including black-out dates), visit www.ScottsdaleNativeTrails.com or contact the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at 480-421-1004 or toll-free at 800-782-1117.