Yesterday, Saturday, I had the privilege of attending the Utah Paiute Tribe’s 42nd annual Restoration Gathering Contest Powwow here in Cedar City, which commemorates federal restoration of the tribe’s recognition. This event takes place on the grounds of the Cedar Band of the Paiutes, and all of the Paiute tribes in Utah are invited for food, venders, sporting events and a huge dance contest. The dancers perform and rack up points to see who the winners are at the end of the 2 day event. There are varieties of categories from tiny tots to seniors, and many kinds of traditional dances, too.
I got to the arena just before the Grand Entrance started. This involved all of the participants parading in behind the dignitaries and flag bearers. What a sight! Then there were some lengthy speeches by all of the important people involved. I was so touched by the polite attentiveness that all of the people there paid to the speakers. In attendance also was our state representative who was responsible for passing legislation that allowed seniors graduating high school to be able to wear some of their tribal regalia to their ceremony.
Most of all, no matter how long each speaker was talking, each was paid the utmost respect by the crowd. I think that native people are used to these kinds of events, and are used to respecting and listening. So by the time the first dance contest was starting, I had already been there for about 2 hours, standing up. Not a problem, except the temperature was up in the low 90’s. That is about 33° Celsius! I hated to leave, but I was feeling very toasty.
I did however have a chance to take a lot of photos. Here are some of them. I especially love the tiny tot dancers. What care and attentiveness that their parents must use to create their fabulous regalia!
Here are a few short videos with sound so that you can get the beat of the tribal drum groups. There were at least 5 groups that rotated drumming for the dancers. It is quite a strenuous activity, especially in yesterday's heat. Switch over to your browser to watch!
I could listen to that drumming all day. I guess it is the shaman in me! I'm already looking forward to next year's powwow.