Rhythmic drums pierced the air while people danced in full Native American regalia during the 23rd annual Hart of the West PowWow and Native American Craft Fair at William S. Hart Park.
Thousands were expected to attend the family-oriented event that was aimed to expose people to Native American traditions, such as music, food and crafts.
“It’s a cultural event,” said Norm Phillips, who originally came up with the idea of having this event. “People can come here and experience the Native American lifestyle.”
One such person who was exposed to Native American traditions for the first time in her life was 10-year-old Brie Tayahua, who is of Native American ancestry herself. She went with her grandfather, Henry Tayahua, who attended a similar event when he was 10 years old which he always remembered.
“I’ve never forgotten, this is the reason I brought my granddaughter,” said Henry. “The spiritual feeling, that’s so amazing, it’s overwhelming.”
Brie said her favorite part were the 15 vendors that came to sell authentic, home-made Native American goods, one of which was Janice Lynn Yazzie.
Yazzie drove 11 hours all the way from Arizona to share her Native American culture with the public by selling beadwork designed after Navajo rug patterns.
“I feel like it is very honoring to sell our beadwork,” she said. “Our rug patterns make up our history.”
Phillips has helped with the event since its inception 23 years ago and says he sees the same people come every year to participate in the Native American-themed event.
“We watched kids that danced the first time grow up into adults,” he said.