September 14, 2022
Southern Ute Indian Tribal Fair celebrates 100 years with tribal members from the all over the country and Canada
By Clark Adomaitis
IGNACIO, COLO. - Over the past weekend, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe celebrated and welcomed everyone to the 100th annual fair.
Tribes from all over the country were welcome to the three-day festival, including a two-hour parade, a heavy metal youth concert featuring Indigenous bands, and an art market.
At the Art Market, a large tent full of Indigenous artists shared their beaded jewelry, tall wooden sculptures, and intricate pottery. Rod Velarde from the Jicarilla Apache Nation offered his Indigenously-adorned Stormtrooper and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle artwork.
"We take iconic images like Aliens, Batman, Superman, the new predator (movie), Prey, dinosaurs, cars, contemporary designs, and we add tribal designs to it," Rod explained.
Hundreds of people, their families, and community members filled the Sky Ute fairgrounds for a Powwow a few blocks from the juried art market and show. Drum groups from different tribes took turns singing powerfully and drumming energetically.
Colorful traditional Native American regalia adorned with long feathers worn by dancers move to the rhythm of the drum groups. Bart Powaukee from the Nez Perce tribe was emceeing the three-day event.
"We have groups from Alberta, Canada, North Dakota, and Oklahoma. It's a long (ways) away. People drove over 18 hours to get here," Powaukee said.
One thing not happening around the corner from the Powow 100 years ago was screamo vocals, double bass pedals, and drop-D guitar blaring from the 12th annual Rez-ilence youth heavy metal concert showcasing five Indigenous bands.
Alliance, a group from the San Carlos Apache reservation in Ariz., traveled seven hours, and regularly showcased with other Indigenous bands.
"You get to meet other natives. And sometimes they'll talk to you about their cultures and everything," said Isaiah Patterson, lead guitarist of Alliance.
Robert Ortiz, an graphic specialist at the Southern Ute Drum, has organized the concert for the past 12 years to inspire the youth to be creative and avoid the influence of drugs and alcohol. "We all need inspiration in life. We need our brothers and sisters out there that are doing it to show our younger generation that they can do it as well," Robert said to the crowd.
The Southern Ute Fair will continue this weekend from Friday, September 16 to Sunday, September 18, and will include hand-game tournaments and a rodeo.
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