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Native American Cultural Gathering this weekend

There is always something to do in Pagosa, and this weekend the 2009 Chimney Rock Native American Cultural Gathering is one of the choices.

The gathering will take place Saturday and Sunday, July 25 and 26, with programs at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day.

The Aztec dancers will begin the festivities with their flamboyant dances at the visitor cabin, followed by dances in the great kiva by three different Hopi groups plus dancers from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo and Acoma Pueblo. Renowned Zuni flute player Fernando Cellicion will return to Chimney Rock this year with his dance group, flute melodies and the always-popular Zuni Pottery Dance. An Indian Market at the visitor cabin is also part of the gathering.

Admission is $10 per person with all proceeds divided among the singers and dancers. No advance tickets will be sold, nor will there be any guided tours on either day. Please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the program. Visitors should bring a camping chair to sit on.

Chimney Rock is a very special place to its visitors, Pagosa Springs, and San Juan National Forest. The site is also of particular significance to Native Americans in the four corners region. Many anthropologists feel that when the residents of Chimney Rock migrated over 900 years ago, they journeyed in several different directions, some settling at what is now the Hop Reservation in northeastern Arizona, the Zuni Reservation in northwestern New Mexico and assimilating into the Rio Grande Pueblos. The pueblo peoples do not need an anthropologist to tell them about their migrations. It is part of their oral stories and histories.

The Jicarilla Apaches and Utes claim a more recent historic relationship to the Chimney Rock area. The pit houses and kivas had long been vacant when bands of Jicarilla and Utes camped in the nearby meadows.

The Chimney Rock Native American Cultural Gathering acknowledges all of the peoples who lived at Chimney Rock and passed through its countryside and celebrates and preserves the past in today’s world through traditional Native American song and dance and art. Come share in the rich traditions that began at Chimney Rock a thousand years ago and are still alive and well in native peoples today.

This one-of-a-kind event is sponsored by Friends of Native Cultures with funding provided by Durango Friends of the Arts, San Juan National Forest, and Chimney Rock Interpretive Program.

For more information, call 731-4248 or 883-5359.