23rd Annual Zuni Festival of Arts and Culture
Member Preview May 24, 2013
Public Festival May 25
26, 2013

Festival Schedule

On Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26, the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff will present its 23rd Annual Zuni Festival of Arts and Culture. This year’s festival showcases four cultural interpreters who will share how they perpetuate traditional Zuni identity. They will talk on the Zuni history of emergence and migration, reclaiming Zuni farming knowledge, bringing balance to the land in this time of climate change, and the complex history of Zuni art.

Artists, performers, and educators travel from Zuni, New Mexico to share their arts, talents, and culture at this event. Visitors will enjoy traditional Zuni dances, music from the Zuni Pueblo Band, and meeting and buying directly from Zuni artists. This event is created in partnership with the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center, which will bring historic archival films of Zuni life for visitors and Zuni people, alike, to view.

MNA Heritage Program Manager Anne Doyle said, “This annual showcase of Zuni language, lifeways, traditional music, and dances is vital to understanding the Zuni culture. They have lived at Zuni Pueblo for thousands of years. It was an historic crossroads of travel and trade in northwestern New Mexico and their presence and influence on the Colorado Plateau was substantial throughout history.”

Museum Director Dr. Robert Breunig added, “Although the Zunis are a Puebloan people and share many attributes in common with the Hopi, Acoma, Laguna, and the Rio Grande Puebloan peoples, their language is unique, spoken only by the Zuni. This suggests a great antiquity for their culture. MNA is honored to welcome the A:shiwi (Zuni) people to Flagstaff, which is located on a landscape that is part of their traditional cultural territory.”

Opening Ceremonies
Both Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10 a.m., Zuni and MNA officials will gather at the flagpole, at the Museum’s front entrance, with the Zuni Pueblo Band for a flag raising ceremony. As in previous Zuni Festivals, the Zuni flag will be raised next to the U.S. and Museum of Northern Arizona flags, where they will remain throughout the weekend.

Humanities Insights Presentations sponsored by Arizona Humanities Council
The Zuni Emergence and Migration Story
“My presentation will detail our ancestors’ travel as they emerged from within the Grand Canyon in search of our homeland, Halona I:diwanna (the middle place of the world). There have been many non-Zuni scholars who have documented our historical beliefs, but none have ever really captured the spirit of our history. Through this talk, I will give a Zuni perspective of our history. In my years growing up, I have been blessed to hear several knowledgeable elders share our insights into our history that I have never come across in books or documentation.”
―A:shiwi A:wan Museum Technician Curtis Quam

Reclaiming Zuni Farming Knowledge
“Zuni farmers today are faced with many options. Grow food according to books written in English, learn by example from people who are not from Zuni, learn from other Zuni farmers, or all of the above. I will share my thoughts about a new generation of Zuni farmers, finding their place and identity in a complex agricultural world, and the continuous work to reclaim Zuni farming knowledge. I will describe a farming language that has grown from thousands of years of Zuni farming experience that includes soil knowledge, crop varieties, and the calendar. This presentation will be of special interest to linguists, anthropologists, and those willing to take on the challenge of high altitude gardening.”
—A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center Director Jim Enote

Bringing Balance to the Land
“Our elders are concerned about finding a balance between contemporary western thought and traditional A:shiwi perspectives. In the 1960s, there were still many traditional storytellers who helped keep our culture and our language alive. Radio and television have become our storytellers. A way to maintain and strengthen our traditions is through the use of Zuni language, in a culturally meaningful and revitalizing manner. Today, we ask another question, with global warming and its impacts, for example the loss of the Zuni River, how do we continue the existence of the Zuni culture as we know it and bring balance to our earthly home?”
―Storyteller, historian, and cultural linguist Edward Wemytewa

Grand Canyon—The Zuni Place of Origin
“I will talk about the Zuni place of origin, Chimik’yana’kya dey’a or Ribbon Falls, on the north rim of the Grand Canyon and share my Grand Canyon experiences of traveling down the Colorado River many times to Ribbon Falls and other sacred sites. And I hope to create an opportunity for visitors to contrast their own experiences in this discussion of identity and place. — Jeweler, scholar, and cultural advisor Octavius Seowtewa

This Year’s Zuni Artists and Demonstrators
Artist demonstrators will create artwork at the festival and talk with visitors about materials and designs they use, and award-winning artists will bring their unique pieces of art for sale. Through their distinctive sense of color and patterns, intricately crafted designs, and traditional symbols, Zuni artists create some of the most sought after Native arts.

Aric Chopito will demonstrate weaving, Rayland and Patty Edaakie will show how they make their silver inlay jewelry, and Todd Westika will present a contemporary fetish carving demonstration.
This year’s artists will include James Cheama, jewelry and fetish carvings; Ola Eriacho, jewelry; Duran Gasper, jewelry; Verla Lasiloo Jim, jewelry; Jesse Johnson, jewelry; Carlos Laate, pottery; Yolanda Laate, jewelry; Pamela Lasiloo, jewelry; Eldred and Marilyn Quam, fetish carvings; Lynn Quam, fetish carvings; Eldrick and Charlotte Seoutewa, jewelry; Roxanne Seoutewa, jewelry, and more.

Traditional Dancers and Music
The Nawetsa Family Dancers bring the pageantry of traditional Zuni social dancing, with colorful headdresses, beaded and fringed arm bands, traditional woven outfits, and turquoise jewelry adding to their performances of dances symbolizing the dreams, visions, and beliefs of the A:shiwi.

A new group of dancers, the Zuni Olla Maidens, decorated with turquoise jewelry and traditional woven outfits, will dance while carefully balancing water pots on their heads. In the past, women were responsible for hauling water in larger pots on their heads for the tribe’s gardens and other needs. The dancers pay homage to these ancestral women, and focus on their belief that everything is balanced. In today’s world, that means balancing the traditional with modern life. When they sing and dance, they remain true to their traditional heritage and tribal values.

The Zuni Pueblo Band
The Zuni Pueblo Band is one of the few remaining American Indian community bands in the U.S. today. They proudly wear the traditional Pueblo style of dress, with a red woven sash belt around the waist, a handmade concho belt, exquisite Zuni jewelry, and red leather moccasins. Membership in the band is open to all Zunis, regardless of age or experience. The Zuni Pueblo Band plays marches by John Phillip Sousa, K. L. King, Roland Seitz, and other well-known composers for parades and concerts.

2013 Heritage Program Sponsors
This year’s Heritage Festivals are sponsored by Blue Cross® Blue Shield® of Arizona, Arizona Commission on the Arts, Art Works, Arizona Humanities Council, BBB Revenues of Flagstaff, Flagstaff Cultural Partners/Coconino Center for the Arts, and Coconino County Arizona.

Festival Admission
 The Zuni Festival is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Festival and regular Museum admission is $10 adults, $9 seniors (65+), $7 students with student ID, $6 American Indians (10+), and $6 youths (10–17).

Upcoming Festivals
The 23rd Annual Zuni Festival of Art and Culture is part of MNA's Heritage Program.  Make plans now to attend these upcoming festivals!

80th Annual Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture — Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7, 2013
64th Annual Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture — Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 4, 2013
10th Annual Celebraciones de la Gente — Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27, 2013

Photo Credits:
Top: Nikkie and Brittney daakie, Nawetsa Family Dancers
Photo by Michele Mountain © 2012 MNA

Lower: Artists Yolanda Laate and Loren Panteah show their jewelry to festival visitors
Photo by Michele Mountain © 2010 MNA

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