FLAGSTAFF -- Tina McGrath and Marie Tsosie have been working with youth and promoting native talent and traditional knowledge for many years now.
"Native Colors of the Wind: Native Culture in Youth Clothing & Jewelry" is a new addition to the second annual Native American Festival of Arts & Culture at Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff. The youth fashion show visually represents local and national Native American heritage and inspires youth to carry on traditional knowledge and values. The show will include traditional and contemporary clothing and traditional music.
Tina McGrath is originally from Hard Rock. She is Nakaii Dine'e (Mexican Clan) born for Kinyaanii (Towering House). She has been working in the art world and entertainment industry for 25 years. She is the producer and director of Sacred Path Production Co., a local Native American talent search agency that works with regional and national Native American communities.
McGrath said she loves to network with native artists sharing opportunities and working with local youth. She has been a volunteer with the Native Americans for Community Action Pathways Program for the past three years organizing plays through local schools that depict traditional Native American stories and history.
Marie Tsosie is originally from Cahone, Colo. She is Ashiihii (Salt People) born for Nakai Dine'e (Mexican Clan), her maternal grandfather is Bitanii (Folding Arms) and her paternal grandfather is Todachiinii (Bitter Water). She is a talented seamstress and native fashion designer who has been coordinating native youth fashion shows and pageants for many years now.
Tsosie is a licensed substance abuse counselor for the NACA Ray of Hope project which parallels counseling with traditional teachings. Tsosie's traditional teachings have been passed to her from her mother as well as her maternal and paternal grandparents.
McGrath and Tsosie said they believe that youth fashion show's are an effective way to educate the public and native youth on native history and culture through oral explanations of lifestyle changes combined with a visual presentation of traditional, modern and contemporary clothing/fashion.
This year's fashion show was made possible through the combined efforts of last year's Youth Program Coordinator for Flagstaff Cultural Partners, Beverly Smith, and the artistic vision and organizational capacities of Tsosie and McGrath. The Youth Fashion show: "Native Colors of the Wind: Native Culture in Youth Clothing & Jewelry" is free to the public and will be held at Coconino Center for the Arts, Saturday, July 23 from 1-4 p.m.
Coconino Center for the Arts is located at 2300 N. Fort Valley Road in Flagstaff. For more information on the festival, visit www.culturalpartners.org or call 928-779-2300.
(Amy Louis is Flagstaff Cultural Partners Youth Program Coordinator.)