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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nevada’s American Indians showcase traditions

Experience the energy of a drum circle, the exhilaration of traditional dancing and the appeal of time-honored hand games at one of Nevada’s many American Indian cultural events this summer. 
The Silver State is home to several American Indian tribes – including the Paiute, Washoe and Western Shoshone – that live in various bands or groups throughout the state, and that showcase their individual heritage at annual powwows and special events.

Here’s a look at some upcoming summer events:

• Sacred Visions Powwow, July 22 to 24 at Big Bend Ranch, 50 Big Bend Ranch Road in Wadsworth. Now in its third year, this event is organized by the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. The schedule includes hand-game tournaments, dance competitions and drumming contests. For those who like to rough it, there’s free camping. 

• Wa She Shu It Deh arts festival, July 23 to 24 at Tallac Historic Site in South Lake Tahoe, California. The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California offers this festival that includes a basket-weaving competition, native dancers, music and arts and crafts. The Washoe are known for their skills in basket-weaving. 
• Ely Shoshone Tribe Fandango, July 29 to 31 at the Wappin do-Ya-Be Center, 250 Heritage Drive in Ely. Take in traditional activities — including exhibition drummers and dancers, and a hand-game tournament — as well as recreational fun. 
• Spirit of Wovoka Days, Aug. 26 to 28 at the Joe Parr Sports Complex in Yerington. This event honors Wovoka, the Northern Paiute and religious leader who founded the Ghost Dance Movement in the late 1880s in Yerington. Today, Wovoka’s significance in the history of Nevada and the United States is remembered in a powwow that includes drumming contests, traditional dancing and the Wovoka Princess contest.

Other noteworthy events include the Stewart Father’s Day Powwow, held every June on the grounds of the historic Stewart Indian School in Carson City, and the Walker River Paiute Tribe’s annual pine nut festival, which honors the traditional fall pine nut harvest.

Those are just a few of the events showcasing Nevada’s rich and complex American Indian cultures. For a comprehensive listing and for information on individual tribes and groups, see Nevada Indian Territory at www.nevadaindianterritory.com/
For more information about top events in Nevada take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Nevada