31 December 2004

Gourd Dance

From Farmington Daily Times:

New Year's Eve Gourd Dance
By Valarie Lee/The Daily Times
Dec 31, 2004, 10:44 pm

SHIPROCK — The Native American Church of New Mexico, Inc., Shiprock Chapter is hosting an event today that promotes positive healing and supports the family unit.

Starting today at noon in the Nataani Nez Elementary School Gym, event organizers will welcome hundreds of people who will join together for the New Year’s Eve Gourd Dance Celebration.

“Because of the support of community members and small business owners in the area, we are able to have this celebration,” said Leonard Anthony, who is one of a dozen event coordinators.

Anthony said they plan on honoring veterans from the past and current military personnel for their service to the nation.

“We will also honor the elders, Native American Church Robe Man and Water Woman,” said Anthony. “All War Mothers will be honored, too.”
Anthony said the elderly will be honored because of their guidance, prayers and support they give to the younger generations that enabled cultural traditions to continue.

“We know how important our traditional teachings are from them and we need to hold tight onto them for our future,” Anthony explained.
Event organizers said they will have space for vendors who want to sell their arts and crafts.

Donations from Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr., and first lady Vikki Shirley will help feed the dancers.

“Mayor Bill Standley said he would stop by and show support for our event,” Anthony added. “The support and donations we have received has been really appreciated and helpful.”

Officials said they hope to start a yearly tradition with this first gourd dance celebration.

“Our intent, the Native American Church of New Mexico, Inc., is to hold this event every New Year’s Eve. Down in Gallup, they have a powwow and that is very successful. Many people attend the powwow and spend quality time with family and we’d like to provide that kind of encouragement to families in this area,” Anthony said.

Iris Anthony added another reason why this event is special.

“We know people are going to drive into Farmington and other places to drink and perhaps drive,” she said. We strongly encourage them to not do that. We invite you and your family to come here and spend time with family doing something positive. Who knows? Maybe a song will begin a healing for someone who is hurting. Or maybe someone is thankful for the good things in their life, so now, they can come here and share that blessing with others.”

Valarie Lee: vlee@daily-times.com


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