April 4, 2023
Families gather for the gourd dance at Hozhoni Days 2023 (Tribal Radio | Sarah Flower)

Healing through Hozhoni Powwow annual celebrations in Durango

By Sarah Flower

Fort Lewis College hosted the 57th Hozhoni Days pow-wow this weekend. The two-day event featured music, food, and dance. Indigenous tribes throughout the region were there to celebrate.

Hundreds gathered to celebrate the 57th anniversary of Hozhoni Days also known as the Days of beauty powwow. This year's theme is “Plan to Healing while restoring our Reziliency,” the over a half century old celebration is hosted by Wanbli-Ota, a student organization at the college and the second time the powwow has been in person since the start of the pandemic. For Kylie Cayedito, vice president of Wanbli-ota says this year's theme runs deep for her as Indigenous cultures continue to heal.

Last year's Hozhoni days visitors were being turned away for lack of space. This year they made some adjustments. Over 30 vendors from across the region and 15 FLC students had the opportunity to share their art at the student life center while gourd dancing, drumming and songs and smells fry bread were filling up Whalen gymnasium. Cayedito says being able to gather and celebrate culture and history is vital for connection, especially for some students at the college.

As part of tradition for Hozhoni days, The Wanbli Ota Club recognized its 2022–23 ambassadors, Amber Herrod, a Navajo and Cheyenne-Arapaho fourth-year student majoring in cell and molecular biology, and Aaliyah Juanico, of Diné background, a third-year student majoring in political science and minoring in marketing and Native American and Indigenous studies. Both students are from Farmington.

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