Monday, April 26, 2010
Festival of Native Peoples
This will be my final post on our stay at the Cherokee Indian Reservation last July where we attended the Festival of Native Peoples. I have been delayed in posting because we went on a trip to Tennessee and also because I searched for copyright laws on the Internet. Some of my pictures were published on a commercial site without my consent. I placed a copyright statement on the side of my blog and urge everyone who has a blog to do so. I hope that the advertising agency that provided my pictures to their client will work with me on this. If not, I hope that the website will cease using my pictures, like the one below.
This was the 5th year the festival took place at the Cherokee Indian Reservation. This event ended with a performance of native dances, songs and music from several tribes of the Americas. In addition to the traditional Cherokee dancers there were dancers and performers from other states like New Mexico and Hawaii and countries like Canada and Peru. The festival took place in Cherokee, the main town of the Cherokee Nation which is home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and is nestled in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, near Asheville.
Earlier in the afternoon, we went to the Cherokee Art Market – this market was the subject of my post of April 4h. It was a lovely day to have a festival, but after walking for a while in the Art Market we enjoyed sitting and listening to the program. I took so many photographs that it will be difficult to make a choice for this post.
The Cellicion Zuni Dancers from southwest New Mexico have performed since 1983 all over this country and internationally – Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia. They were the first Native American dancers to perform in Mongolia.
Their dances included the Pottery Dance. The dance tells the story of women carrying water jars on their heads to the river while dancing and singing to give thanks to the Creator for water. There are less than 15 women left in New Mexico to perform this ancient dance. The Zuni Pottery dancers first showed us that the clay pots were not attached to their heads, then danced and sang.
The five San Carlos Apache Crown Dancers from Arizona have white tainted chests with drawings showing lightning – lightning is a powerful Apache symbol. The dancers represent Mountain Spirits – four of them are the four directions and the fifth is the protective clown that drives away evil spirits with the sound of his humming bull-roarer.
Miss Cherokee 2008-2009 was watching intently
As well as the audience
A large First Nation family from Canada came on the stages and danced.
The wee children were so cute – and so serious.
Unfortunately I was so busy watching or taking photographs that I did not take good notes and I did not record the name of some of the groups, like the one below.
Then came the graceful Hawaiian hula group, the Halau Palaihiwa of Kaiouwai. They demonstrated ancient hula, chants and dances. “These are chants and dances that have been part of ‘aiha‘a since time immemorial. It’s rare (ancient Hawaiians) would include observers outside the halau,” said Kumu Hula the director of the group. “‘Aiha‘a means to internalize humility,” she said. “The ‘‘ai’ means ‘to internalize,’ and the ‘ha‘a’ means ‘low, bent knees.’ Our teachings remind us we pull our energy from the ground. The lower to the ground, the higher the frequency (connection to the ancestors).” “Hula is about regenerating life cycles. The dancer... becomes that living altar of hula and the circle of the lei, a symbol of that ongoing cycle. Hula is the healing of the land and environment.” “Our ancestors understood our earth was suspended. They observed, respected and internalized nature.” (from The Garden Island,com)
The ancient Hawaiian hula and drum dances were once a mainstay of Hawaii's ancient temples. An Hawaiian elder came to perform an ancestral chant.
The show on the stage stopped so the audience could go back to the fairgrounds and watch the Totonac Pole Flyers one more time. My last post was devoted to these fearless artists; see my post of April 13th.
The Git-Hoan Dancers performed the song and dance of the Native people from the Pacific coastal areas of northern British Columbia and southeastern Alaska.
The dancers now live in the Seattle area but can trace their roots to the Tsimshian village of Metlakahtta in southeast Alaska. The Tsimshian people, depended on deep-sea codfish and halibut for subsistence, just like the Klingit and the Haida, who are other seafaring coastal people. Tribal leader and culture bearer David Boxley founded and directed the group to preserve his culture which was on the verge of extinction. He is also a renowned totem carving artist.
The dancers of Git-Hoan, which means People of the Salmon in the Tsimshian language, use hand-carved masks as they tell their story through dances. They also perform with headdresses, skin, wood drums and other handmade instruments.
A company of National Peruvian Folk dancers came on the stage in their colorful garments and danced joyfully
They were part of the award-winning band Inca Son – which means “Sound of the Incas.” Their music was lively and the old Andean songs sounded just right in the mountains of North Carolina. César Villalobos, the founder of the group, plays the “Sikus” or panpipes. His happy music can sound like a bird in flight of like the sound of the wind from his homeland, the Andes of Peru.