Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, June 20, 21, and 22, 2023 Pamela Lasiloo - Zuni Silversmith Second demonstrator to be announced
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, June 27, 28, and 29, 2023 Dawni Laughter - Navajo Painter Darrance Chimericao - Hopi Kachina Carver
About the Program
Grand Canyon has been home to 11 different tribes within the Southwest for countless generations. Grand Canyon is not only a national park, not only a World Heritage Site, not only one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World--it is a sacred space for entire peoples.
The purpose of the Cultural Demonstration Program is to give members of the 11 traditionally associated tribes a voice at Grand Canyon by supporting interactions with the public through demonstrations of traditional native practices and crafts. The program began in 2014 and continues to grow to this day.
We gratefully acknowledge the Native peoples on whose ancestral homelands we gather, as well as the diverse and vibrant Native communities who make their home here today: Diné (Navajo), Havasupai, Hualapai, Hopi, Yavapai-Apache, Kaibab band of Southern Paiute, Las Vegas band of Southern Paiute, Moapa band of Southern Paiute, Paiute Indian Tribes of Utah, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, and Zuni.
Demonstrations are free and open to the public and take place at various Desert View locations, most often in and around Desert View Watchtower.
The settlement of Desert View is located, 23 miles (37 km) east of Grand Canyon Village on Desert View Drive (Arizona State Route 64), and 30 miles (48 km) west of Cameron, Arizona, on Arizona State Route 64.
How to get to the Watchtower:
Starting from the main Desert View parking area, a short .25 mile (.4 km) walk takes you past the restroom building, the Market/Deli and the Trading Post.The four story watchtower is located at Desert View Point.
Enjoy these vignettes of the Cultural Demonstration Program, filmed on location, to further understand the spirit of the program. Be sure to experience Grand Canyon's robust culture's through the Cultural Demonstration Program when you visit the park. To watch as a playlist, visit the park's YouTube channel.
Leo Chee has lived in Cameron, Arizona, a small community on the Navajo Nation just east of Grand Canyon, his whole life. He is self-taught in many traditional crafts such as silversmithing and wood-carving. "It's a lot of work. Especially the polishing, polishing a bracelet like this. Because that polisher spins real fast, and if you make a mistake it'll grab it and throw it at you!" Spend a Minute Out In It watching Leo work at Desert View Watchtower as part of the park's Cultural Demonstration Series.
"Fetishes are part of our religious culture. The six directional animals--the mountain lion, the bear, the badger, the wolf, the eagle and the mole--these animals have the most significance to Zuni." Jeff Shetima has been carving fetishes since he was twelve years old. Held by the Zuni as sacred icons for centuries, fetishes have since been secularized and sold as a way to celebrate their rich culture with the world. Spend a Minute Out In It watching Jeff carve a mountain lion, the guardian of the north.
"All the materials I use come from the Earth. I don't buy anything in stores to make pottery." Darlene James is a descendent of Nampeyo, the famous Hopi potter who revived the traditions of ancient pottery at the turn of the twentieth century. Nampeyo demonstrated her craft in the Hopi House on the South Rim from 1905-1907. Over 100 years later, Darlene keeps the tradition alive, demonstrating her masterful craft in the very same building. Spend a Minute Out In It making art from the clay of canyon country.
Aaron White is of Northern Ute/Diné descent. He is an award-winning Native American flute-maker and lecturer on the history and culture of the flute. Aaron believes music is medicine that can help heal and mend the spirit of people around the world. "We all carry that gift in our heart and soul, our ancestors figured it out long ago--may we continue to pass it along whole-heartedly." Spend a Minute Out In It with Aaron at Yaki Point, as he and the Sun converse through sound and light.
"Kachinas are spiritual deities. This kachina doll represents the Manangya (lizard), one that I saw on my last pilgrimage through the Canyon. The design shows the South and North Rims, as you're at the bottom looking up into the night sky. Every night you'll have that experience. During our prayers when we talk about the day's journey, we look up, and the stars show themselves to you." Spend a Minute Out In It listening to why Cory Ahownewa puts his heart into carving traditional Hopi Kachina dolls.
For James Uqualla, a Havasupai religious practitioner, the hike from the Rim to Indian Garden (aka: Havasupai Gardens) is a pilgrimage. Dressed for ceremony, Uqualla walked to his ancestors' traditional farming lands, where he reconnected with them through ritualistic song and prayer. The procession marks a renewed relationship with lands taken from the Havasupai by the NPS in the 1920s. Listen to chant, smell burning sage, and feel the spirit of Grand Canyon through its original protectors.
Bryan Joe is a second-generation silversmith, having learned the trade from his father, and now teaching it to his son. "The craft has been in the family since my dad started 50 years ago. He learned the basics from his uncle, who in Navajo I call my 'Nali,' and from there went on to start his business. He was only 23 and ran with some of the best galleries in the Four Corners. Not a lot of people know that." Spend a Minute Out In It with Bryan in the Hopi House, passing down tradition one bead at a time.
The Yavapai-Apache Nation (YAN) is located in the Verde Valley, Arizona, and is comprised of 5 tribal communities: Tunlii, Middle Verde, Rimrock, Camp Verde and Clarkdale. With 2,596 total enrolled tribal members, the YAN consists of two distinct people, the Yavapai and Apache. The Yavapai refers to themselves as Wipuhk’a’bah and speak Yuman, while the Apache refer to themselves as Dil’zhe'e, and speak Athabaskan. Spend a Minute Out In It with Jerry Whagado, a member of the Yavapai, "The People of the Sun."
Grand Canyon has been home to the Havasupai since time immemorial. They're still here. The removal of the Havasupai from their homelands is a difficult history we must all acknowledge. Together with the Havasupai, the NPS is taking steps to rectify this troubled past. The first step is to rename Indian Garden to Havasupai Gardens, initiating an ethical relationship with the tribe to include the traditional name and its true history. Take a Minute Out In It to hear Ophelia talk about this important change.
Sunny Dooley is a Diné storyteller residing in Dédeez’á’ Bigháá Ní’didhchíí’byildiz - High Ridge Pine Tree Valley. She shares Hane', or Blessingway stories, and is a former Miss Navajo Nation, 1982. As a storyteller, Sunny shares what has been passed down through generations, having learned the skill from her mother. Spend a Minute Out In It walking to the Canyon with Sunny, as she imparts the wisdom of preserving language and the oral tradition, in one of the most complex and beautiful languages on Earth.