Published April 6, 2022

Hózhóní Days Powwow returns after two years due to Covid

KSUT Tribal Radio
By Sarah Flower

(KSUT Tribal Radio | Sarah Flower)

For the first time in two years, Fort Lewis College and the Native American Center host their first powwow since the pandemic's beginning.

People gathered at Fort Lewis College (FLC) Wayland gymnasium to experience the Hózhóní Days Powwow in Durango, Colo. Hózhóní roughy means beauty in the Diné (Navajo) language.

The two-day event had a record number of attendees. It reached capacity quickly where the sound of drum groups, dancers, and singers joyously gathered since the start of the pandemic. At the same time, the smell of frybread filled the air, and vendors were selling their goods.

John Henry Cummings was one of the dancers during the grand entry. The absence of powwows made him realize how important these events are in honoring culture, tradition, and ancestors.

"It's been a hard struggle. I guess you could say, a lot of the times for us Natives Americans, we like to express ourselves through dancing, through singing," says Cummins, who is Navajo, Crow, and Shoshone.

This year, the theme for Hózhóní Days was Honoring Those Who Never Made it Home and selected by the students at the college.

This past fall, FLC held a ceremony to remove panels from the iconic clock tower located on campus because of the inaccurate representation of Indian boarding schools, which was part of the college's institutional history.

Highlighting Hózhóní Days theme was the Orange Regalia Special to honor the children who never made it home from boarding schools.

"So, just seeing the little children out there dancing really uplifts us as a people, kind of showing that - we're still going to continue this way of life, you know, regardless of what's going to come our way and just really taking in the - spiritual essence of this place," says Cummins.

Listen to the audio for the full story or don't have time subscribe to KSUT Tribal Radio Podcast and listen whenever.
TRT [3:54]

Copyright 2022 KSUT Tribal Radio.