Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rug Show 2012 - The Main Event II

by John Aldrich

The final blog segment about our recent rug show deals with Sunday, the last day of the event. There are two special activities on this day that typically draw large crowds, the Veterans Ceremony and the Pow Wow.

The day starts on a solemn and moving note with the Veterans Ceremony. Howard Benally and his wife Beverly do a superb job organizing the event. This year we had hoped to have Samuel Tsosie as our guest speaker. He is one of the elite Navajo Code Talkers as well as an Elder in our program. Unfortunately, for health reasons, he was unable to attend, but his daughter and granddaughter ably filled in for him.

In this photo the audience pauses for a moment of reflection during the presentation of the colors.

Rhonda Duvall has sung the national anthem in Navajo at the ceremony for a number of years now. Her powerful voice moves everyone. She also presented a short program of songs on Saturday afternoon.

Howard Benally presented a special quilt to Loretta Tsosie, Samuel's daughter. It had been made in honor of a WWII flyman whose service was described in this letter.

Also honored at the ceremony was Jan Watts who has been part of the Intertribal Color Guard that participates in the event. Jan died early in the year.

At the conclusion of the ceremony and prayers, Elders and other well-wishers greet the veterans in the audience who have been honored. Frances Bahe is passing around a basket of donated necklaces.

The last photo from the ceremony shows those who helped organize and/or participated in the event. From the left they include Richard and Grace Yellowhammer, Loretta Tsosie and her daughter who is holding a photograph of her grandfather Samuel, and Howard and Beverly Benally.

One of the biggest jobs associated with the show is coordinating all the volunteers. Over the course of 5 days around 200 volunteers are typically involved. This task starts months before the show and involves countless hours of work. Elinda McKenna, seen in the back, worked with Mac Lund to accomplish this enormous job. Shannon Gordon and Sheri Lund were also a big help during the show.

Elders attending the show often have a number of family members with them. Ruth Benally from Big Mountain is surrounded by her daughters Irene, Vina, and Elvira while granddaughter Lucinda gets a playful glance from her grandmother.

One of the most beautiful rugs at the show was this masterpiece by Darlene Furcap. It sold just before the end of the show.

The pow wow on Sunday afternoon brings in a crowd eager to see Native American dancing. Harry James has staged this event for us for many years. He warms up the audience with stories, singing, and demonstrations of Navajo culture.

Dancers participate by demonstrating a variety of styles typical of pow wow events. The colorful costumes add to the excitement.

Perhaps most popular with the audience are the hoop dancers. Carl Moore and his two sons have been impressing the crowd for years. Their combination of energy and coordination is extraordinary.

At the conclusion of the pow wow members of the audience join the performers for a final dance and mingling of cultures.

It's only fitting to end this review of the 2012 rug show with a final picture of those whose endless hours of planning and work made this all possible - Robin Field-Williams, Wendy Sanborn, Linda Myers, Kate Stephens, Gina Zimmerer, and Carla Sydenham.

And many thanks to all the volunteers who helped with the show and all the attendees whose interest in ANE and purchases at the show made it another successful year so that our Elders have additional resources to help them through the winter.

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