FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The fourth annual Hopi Native American Festival of Arts and Culture in downtown Flagstaff Saturday and Sunday is an opportunity for visitors and residents to experience some of the best northern Arizona Native American culture and art.
Sponsored by the Hopi Tribe Economic Development Corporation (HTEDC) as part of the Explore Hopi tourism program, the festival showcases Hopi, Navajo and other Native American artisans including nationally recognized dance groups and Hopi cuisine in collaboration with downtown businesses.
The festival takes place in Heritage Square from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The celebration of Native cultures will include social dances, music and traditional and contemporary art. Artisans include potters, carvers, weavers and painters, and notable artists such as Dalangyawma, Atokuku, Nampeyo, Honyouti, Quannie, Honahnie, David, LaRance, Lomadafkie, Navasie, Chimerica, Koruh, Whitethorn, Begay and Lavato.
"We are honored to be associated with bringing together the diverse cultures and art from the many artisans and the tribes they represent," said Kevin Lombardo, CEO of HTEDC. "This event will be both a cultural experience and an economic boost to the area."
Six-time world champion hoop dancer Nakotah LaRance will perform the "Circle of Life" dance that many tribes perform throughout the U.S. and Canada. Nakotah is also a Native American actor with many credits.
Ed Kabotie is a native flute player of the Santa Clara Pueblo and the Hopi village of Shungopavi. His music reflects both of these two dynamic cultures. Kabotie comes from a notable artistic heritage on his Hopi side through paintings, jewelry and carvings.
Other performances will include a Paaqavi Hopi Dance Group, the Hopi Sun Forehead Dance group, Haaku' Buffalo Dance Group, and The Serpent Trail Dancers. Also performing will be the Forrest Lake Drum and the Hopi Rattle Snake Band.
Organizers started the first market in 2010 to assist artisans in selling their art and crafts to provide for their families, and to provide an opportunity for them to share a little about their way of life and rich culture.
This year's festival donations will go to Child Protective Services in Flagstaff and at Hopi to assist with a safer, better way of life for children in need.
"This festival is for the whole family to enjoy the beauty of Native American art and culture," said Lisa Talayumptewa, event coordinator of HTEDC. "Life in the eyes of an artist is unique and reflects the beauty in life and brings out serenity."
Aspen Avenue between San Francisco and Leroux streets will be closed allowing for a larger festival.
"As the interest in and attendance at the festival has grown each year, we realized we needed to expand opportunities for additional artisans and presenters of Native American culture to meet the demands of the visitors," said Lombardo. "Closing the street to expand the festival's footprint made a lot of sense and we thank the city of Flagstaff and the downtown businesses for their support."
"It is exciting to have our downtown businesses be a part of our festival and hope that our working relationship will only grow stronger," Talayumptewa said. "Each year that I work on putting this festival together gives me a feeling of satisfaction knowing that I am a part of a rich heritage that I can share with others."