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21 Fantastic Photos & Recap of 11th Annual Santa Fe Days

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown March 18th, 2015 Last Updated on: March 18th, 2015

Emilia Gaston Photography

This past weekend in Carrolton, Texas they celebrated the 11th annual Santa Fe Days cultural event. Santa Fe Days is a full weekend of food, dancing, Native culture, and artisans selling their beautiful handmade jewelry and one-of-a kind art pieces. So how did this cultural celebration get its start?

Back in the Spring of 2003, founder David Oldfield and his wife were visiting Angel Fire, New Mexico. While visiting a local Vietnam Memorial, they saw a group of Native artisans holding an arts and crafts show. Mr. Oldfield ran into the event coordinator, Alvenlino Calabaza, and chatted him up. Calabaza said his pueblo, the Santo Domingo, were usually not out at public events but they were starting to get out more. They talked about how wonderful it would be to bring some of this Native style to Carrolton, TX for others to see. It could be called Santa Fe Days on the Square. Alvenlino though it was a wonderful idea but he'd have to get permission from the Elders to do so. And then if the Elders approved, both the Governor and Lt. Governor of New Mexico would have to sign off on it.

Luckily the meeting with the Elders went well and everyone signed off on the event.

Thanks to donations and generosity from everyone, they were able to provide transportation and lodging for the artisans and the first event was a success. Now Santa Fe Days is in its 11th year with the Santo Domingo and many other Pueblos and Nations represented.

Emilia Gaston Photography

Our friend Emilia Gaston was at the event this past weekend and shared with us some great photos and her summary of the event. Here she is in her own words:

The slightly cool and windy weather didn’t stop a crowd of almost 5,000 from visiting the 11th Annual Santa Fe Days in the Park this past weekend on March 14 and 15, 2015. Moving from the Old Downtown Carrollton, Texas square to Sandy Lake Amusement Park proved to be a great venue to house the ever-growing American Indian event. The event hosts a variety of American Indian artisans, selling their handmade crafts and jewelry and provides a unique educational and hands-on experience for families with children with the cultural path, focused on spreading indigenous traditions and heritage.

Emilia Gaston Photography

The weekend’s festivities began with a lively opening ceremony, complete with a grand entry led by Kasey Reynolds and Dennis Begay along with the Renegade Nation Color Guard, the only all-combat American Indian color guard in Texas. The host drum, the Bear Claw Singers, sang songs honoring veterans and welcoming all who visited the event, as honored guests made their way to the main stage after an opening prayer by Gregory Gomez, President of the Indigenous Institute of the Americas.

Emilia Gaston Photography

This year, the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma were honored as distinguished guests and Principal Chief Bill John Baker accepted a key to the City of Carrollton before he spoke to the crowd about American Indian traditions and preserving cultures with pride.

Emilia Gaston Photography

Visitors were then able to go to other areas of the park, where they could shop the creations of American Indian artisans, representing over 30 federally recognized tribes and ranging in merchandise including original art, jewelry, woodwork and clothing. This year’s featured artists, both from the Santo Domingo Pueblo, James Del and Doris Coriz, were visited frequently at their booth, offering handmade silver and natural turquoise jewelry.

This year’s celebration also included an extensive cultural path where families could explore areas such as the indigenous grocery store, displaying an educational guide to the origins of indigenous foods and comparing them to modern day foods seen in stores. Children participated in drawing paper tipis, learning how to loom and make dream catchers and planting their own wild onions. The cultural
path also hosted valued sponsors and community organizations including American Indian Heritage Day, the University of Texas at Arlington’s Native American Student Association and PAC, the Parental Advisory Committee.

Tabitha Tan, the Sponsor Chair for Santa Fe Days in the Park, noted that she “got calls from several sponsors saying that they wanted to sponsor again next year,” citing that all involved were happy with the event and the crowd they were able to interact with.

Emilia Gaston Photography

Between browsing the artist vendors and cultural path and enjoying Indian tacos, guests were seen heavily throughout the days watching the performances at the main stage. A new addition to this year’s lineup was the Chickashsha Hithla Stomp Dance Troupe, from the Chicaksaw Nation, who included the audience in their stomp dance traditions from the southeast.

In reference to the traditions, Amy Bluemel of the troupe said “the people would do a stomp dance to say thank you for a harvest or to pray for a member of the tribe who was ill. It is a dance performed in a circle counter clockwise around a fire with the belief that the smoke carries your prayers to the creator.”

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Dancers also presented a showcase of pow wow dance styles including northern traditional, men’s old style fancy war dance, contemporary fancy dancing, grass dancing, jingle dress dancing, women’s fancy shawl, men’s prairie chicken dancing and women’s cloth dancing. Not only were there American Indian dances represented, but the celebration also hosted the Mitotillztli Yaoyollohtli, and Aztec dance group led by Evelio Flores.

Emilia Gaston Photography

Santa Fe Days in the Park’s success doesn’t come as a surprise to the annual visitors of the event and the spirit of community and culture were ever present throughout the entire weekend’s festivities.

“It was a good beginning, especially with the new date (season), new location and new name,” Santa Fe Days Chair Annette Anderson said. The volunteer committee is already back at work planning the event to be even bigger and better next year.

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Emilia Gaston Photography

Wow, great photos Emilia! It sounds like everyone had a great time. We look forward to hearing about this event next year and watching it grow. Make sure you guys add http://www.santafedays.com/ to your calendar for next year!

Special thanks again to Emilia Gaston for sharing this with us. Emilia Gaston is a professional photographer and serves as Photography Chair and Media Liason for Santa Fe Days in the Park as well as an Ambassador for American Indian Heritage Day in Texas.


Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » 21 Fantastic Photos & Recap of 11th Annual Santa Fe Days

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.



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