December 31, 2011

Thunder in the Desert

Thunder in the Desert: 10,000 Years of Culture, 187 Tribal Nations, 10 days, One Location

By Lee AllenThe event is billed as “10,000 years of culture–187 tribal nations–10 days–all in one location.” Despite the full agenda of Thunder in the Desert, organizer Fred Synder advises: “We’re on Indian time, so take off your watch and put it in your pocket because nothing starts until the medicine men and gourd dancers finish their blessing ceremony.”

Any Thunder in the Desert beyond the upcoming event will have to come from monsoon storms as this year marks the fourth–and final–local desert Pow Wow, part of the First People’s New Millennium World Fair in Tucson, Arizona, we began yesterday, December 30, and goes until January 8. The kick-off gathering of indigenous peoples representing every corner of the world, from Alaska to Australia, began in 2000.

“Tribal elders requested the event to show the world and our children the contributions made by indigenous peoples everywhere,” Synder said. “The elders came to me and said the celebration would be like wearing a Bostonian shoe on one foot and a moccasin on the other. While non-natives celebrated 2,000 years of existence, Native Americans could celebrate being here for 10,000 years by showing our children what we have contributed to the fabric of life and humanity.”
Comment:  For more on powwows, see Vans Shoes with Pendleton Designs and Boy Scout Dances at Powwows.

Below:  "Grand Entry at the Thunder in the Desert." (Nancy Smith-Jones)

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