North Texas Daily

Sante Fe Days showcases Native American culture

Sante Fe Days showcases Native American culture

Sante Fe Days showcases Native American culture
October 15
14:42 2013

Hasan Waheedi / Intern

Multicolored feathered headbands, jingling hawk bells and traditional cotton dresses surrounded the heartbeat-pounding drum.

Dancers in bright colors hopped and stomped to the sound of the beat pulsating. This was a usual scene at the 10th annual Santa Fe Days on the Square in Carrollton this weekend.

“In the Indian community, we have Pow Wows,” event chair Annette Anderson said.

Pow Wows are social gatherings of both native and non-native Americans who dance, drum and feast in honor of Native American culture and traditions.

Anderson, who is part Chickasaw and Cherokee, had a vision of what she wanted Sante Fe Days to become.

“I wanted to have a place where it accurately portrays the diversity, humor and fun we have as a community and at the same time it is authentic,” Anderson said.

The event started out as an arts and craft show run by a few American Indians in 2003. The free event expanded in the next decade to a modern day Pow Wow by bringing in featured artists, storytellers and dancers who are descendants of Native American tribes.

The theme of the event this year was paying tribute to the role of cotton in the culture’s history.

“Cotton is very important because we used it from ancient times to make clothing and for ceremonies,” weaving artist Louie Garcia said. “I was invited here because the work I’ve been doing in New Mexico is focused on reviving traditional forms of weaving, like the ancient spindle.”

All of the products sold by vendors were handmade and self-distributed. Navajo Nation member Joseph Begay creates stone carvings of animal figures that bring spiritual guidance. The bear represents strength and structure, while an eagle symbolizes the connection with divine spirits, Begay said.

“It gives you knowledge and respect for animals,” Begay said.

Three traditionally dressed dancers prepare to do a dance while gathering with audience members. Photo by Kalli Mckee / Contributing Photographer

Three traditionally dressed dancers prepare to do a dance while gathering with audience members. Photo by Kalli Mckee / Contributing Photographer

Attendance was estimated to be about 12,000 during Saturday and Sunday. There were several large families at the festival, and Aztec dancer Evelio Flores, who dances with his wife and two sons, really enjoyed that aspect.

“Your family is the essence of who you are,” Flores said. “By being out here with my two sons, I spend a lot of quality time with them. That makes me really happy and proud.”

Family and spirituality are elements that make up Pow Wow dancing styles such as buckskin, grass and fancy shawl dancing.

UNT freshman and part Navajo Jared Barrientez was a prairie chicken dancer at the event.

“I’ve been dancing since I was 18 months old and it’s something that I do to honor my culture and heritage,” Barrientez said.

Attendee Natalie Brown didn’t know much about Native American culture until she came to the Santa Fe Days.

“I thought the festival was really good and brought a lot of interesting points that gave you a different aspect of how other people live in their cultures,” Brown said. “This [event] gives you an opportunity to learn some of their folk stories and how their history developed.”

Alexis Gaines, dressed in a traditional women’s costume does the fancy shawl dance at the Santa Fe Days festival in Carrollton, Texas. Feature photo by Kalli Mckee / Contributing Photographer

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