FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - The sixth annual Hopi All Native Arts and Cultural Festival in downtown Flagstaff Sept. 26 -27 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 in an outdoor and family friendly atmosphere. Festival donations will go toward preventing substance abuse.
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.
According to Lisa Talayumptewa, event coordinator for HTEDC, the event aims to bring together the communities and visitors from around the world to learn from one another togetherness, happiness and stewardship of Mother Earth for all people from different walks of life.
"This festival is for the whole family to enjoy the beauty of Native American art and culture," Talayumptewa said. "Life in the eyes of an artist is unique and reflects the beauty in life and brings out serenity."
Seven-time world champion hoop dancer Derrick Suwaima Davis will hoop dance - a dance that many tribes perform throughout the U.S. and Canada. Davis' hoops reflect what he sees in nature, like eagles or hummingbirds or insects and the five hoops represent the different stages of life and the difficulties represented in each ending with a hoop that encourages everyone to remember why they have an opportunity called life.
Other performances will include a Haaku' Buffalo Dance Group, Hopi Little Eagle Dance Group, Hopi Buffalo Dance Group, Hooyapi Dance Group, Kwant'toi'Hooyam Dance Group among other performers. Demonstrators will be on the square showcasing Hopi weaving and basketry, overlay, doll carving and paintings.
A silent auction will also take place on the square both days of the festival - artists donated some of the items as did some of the businesses downtown. A raffle will also take place.
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.
Aspen Avenue between San Francisco and Leroux streets will be closed during the festival.
"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."
Despite the hard work of putting together the festival, Talayumptewa said it is all worth it to see the weekend come to fruition.
"I am so thankful to [the artists] taking their time to come to Flagstaff," she said. "But it's so nice to bring everybody together. That's what it is all about, not just one race, but everybody together for the well-being of everybody."
More information is available at hopiallnativefest.com or from Talayumptewa at (928) 522-8675.