The Navajo Nation Fair celebrates the rich history of the Navajo
people and their culture. For 54 years, the Fair has brought together
Navajo people, other Native Americans and visitors in a social,
entertaining and competitive atmosphere. Each year an overall theme
sets the tone for the fair. The theme for 2000 is Naasko' Hozhoo'doo'
- Beauty & Harmony from this Day Forward.
Window Rock, Arizona, hosts the annual weeklong fair at the beginning
of September. Recognized as the worlds largest Native American
Fair, events at the Navajo Nation Fair include: Indian professional
rodeo, inter-tribal contest powwow, Navajo social song & dance
contests, fry bread contests, a parade, the Miss Navajo Nation pageant,
musical entertainment, a livestock show and sale, horticulture and
commercial exhibit areas, crafts, and Native American food concessions.
5 p.m. Junior Wooly Ride: Boys and girls wear full
cowboy regalia as they ride a sheep like a bucking bronco. Riders
in two age groups, 3-4 and 5-7, attempt to stay on the sheep for
six seconds. Only a few manage to hold on for the full time. The
judges award scores on the length of the ride as well as style.
The riders compete for small cash jackpots and other prizes including
ropes, spurs, jackets and carry bags. In addition to overall winners
in each age group, prizes are awarded for the best-dressed cowboy
and cowgirl. This fun event may also help prepare the kids for breaking
horses on their ranches.
6 p.m. Pow Wow Gourd Dancing: Before the Pow Wow competitions
begin, Gourd songs are played in honor of veterans. Two different
types of drums are played: Southern drum (from areas in the Southwest
including Arizona) and Northern drum (from areas in the North like
Montana, Wyoming, and Canada). Participants also shake gourds which
make a rattle sound. Men dance in red and blue shawls to represent
the colors in the US flag. Women stand around the outskirts of the
arena and sing by the drums.
7 p.m. Grand Entry & Pow Wow: Pow Wow participants promenade
into the competition area as they drum and some sing. The Pow Wow
is a gathering of all Indian Nations. All are invited and many attend.
It used to be a ceremony to pray for the protection of warriors
before they went into battle. Now, it is a place to see old friends
and to make new ones. The Pow Wow consists of different parts. The
MC announces each new part and tells the audience about historical
and contemporary meanings. The MC speaks in Navajo and generally
gives the description in English as well.
Jingle Dances are an example of a Pow Wow competition. The
womens jingle dance is a northern dance. The women wear traditional
outfits that include 365 baubles, which resemble bells. Each represents
one day in the year. There are two different jingle dances, regular
straight and side. All jingle dances are part of a healing ceremony.
The womens traditional jingle dance is also from the North.
The women dance on the sidelines as the men gather in the center
of the arena. This dance used to be performed before men would go
out into battle. It is a protection dance/prayer.
continued: day two >>