Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, Aug. 13

Heritage Festival takes place over Fourth of July weekend at Museum of Northern Arizona

The Museum of Northern Arizona's Heritage Festival over Fourth of July weekend is a chance for the public to learn about the many tribes from the Colorado Plateau. (Photo courtesy of Museum of Northern Arizona)

The Museum of Northern Arizona's Heritage Festival over Fourth of July weekend is a chance for the public to learn about the many tribes from the Colorado Plateau. (Photo courtesy of Museum of Northern Arizona)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — More than 250 artists from Native Nations across the Colorado Plateau will be in Flagstaff July 2-3 for the Museum of Arizona’s Heritage Festival, offering an unparalleled opportunity to learn about the diverse Indigenous cultures in the region.

The festival first began in 1930 with a focus on the Hopi people, but this year will also include the Acoma, Apache, Diné, Havasupai, Hualapai, Pai, Ute, Yavapai and Zuni. Darvin Descheny, public programs manager for MNA, said the inclusion of all the tribes of the Colorado Plateau give the public a chance to learn about more tribes from the region.

“People will be able to come and witness different art that’s being made on the Colorado Plateau,” Descheny said. “There are many great communities to be explored.”

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The Olla Maidens Group pose for a picture at a prior festival. (Photos/Museum of Northern Arizona)

Because of COVID-19, Descheny emphasized that the ability to hold the event and the safety of everyone was first and foremost in the staff’s minds as they planned the event. Also with the inclusion of all the tribes across the region, they needed more space than the inside of the museum offered. The solution was to utilize all the outdoor space the museum has, including the research center and community gardens on the other side of the street from the museum’s main campus, which also freed the exhibit space, so visitors will be able to experience those as well.

“It’s going to be an art market pretty much in all of our parking lots,” Descheny said.

More than an art market, the festival is really a celebration put on by the museum offering a glimpse into all that it does to uplift and inform the public about the Native Nations in the region through art, music, lectures, demonstrations and performances. It will take places outdoors though all the parking lots on the museum’s campus, which includes the area where research and

“We thought long and hard about what makes this festival important and special,” said MNA Marketing Director Kristan Hutchison. “This is really a chance for us to continue our mission of sharing culture, of helping people understand the different cultures of the Colorado Plateau in as many different and vibrant ways as possible.”

Whether it’s hands-on Zune games for the kids, learning about plants and dyes in the Colton Community Garden or the cultural lectures that take place before a dance performance, the museum is striving to give the public more information about the cultures they are seeing and experiencing during the festival.

The Easton Collection Center, which was built in consultation with the tribes, and which cares for thousands of objects of cultural importance, will be open to the public during the festival with staff on hand to explain what people are seeing and the importance of the objects to the Native Nations across the region.

Things to know:

Parking has always been a challenge at the festival. This year, with the use of the parking lots for artists showing and selling their art, alternate parking was essential. The museum worked with Flagstaff Unified School District and Creative Flagstaff to have parking available at the Coconino Center for the Arts, Sechrist School and Flagstaff High School. Free shuttle busses, courtesy of Twin Arrows Casino Resort, will give rides to people from the Flagstaff High School to the festival.

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Twin Arrows Casino Resort will offer free shuttle rides from Flagstaff High School to the festival. (Photo/Museum of Northern Arizona)

Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 4 pm.

More information is available at https://musnaz.org/all-upcoming-events/heritagefestival/.

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