NCAI Cultural Night held at Rawhide Western Town
October 21, 2016
Gila River Indian News
The National Congress of American Indians’ Annual Convention is a place for tribal leaders to discuss the serious topics of the day. But NCAI Cultural Night is a chance for everyone to relax and enjoy a good time.
The Cultural Night was hosted by the Gila River Indian Community at Rawhide Western Town from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. on Oct. 12.
Lt. Gov. Monica Antone opened the Cultural Night.
She said, “I wanted to welcome you here to the Gila River Indian Community, the land of the Akimel O’otham and Pee Posh. ... I know there is a lot of important work that has been done [at NCAI] throughout the week. ... We want to welcome all Natives because that’s what we do as indigenous people, and I want to thank all the tribal leaders that made it out [tonight]. Enjoy yourselves this evening.”
Emcees and comedians Teresa Choyguha and Wolf Brown had the audience of 700-plus roaring, while a meal of chili, potato salad, squash and chumuth kept people satisfied along with traditional food samples of "ga'ivsa" (ground corn), "bavi" (tepary beans) and more.
The evening featured traditional dancers from the O’otham, Pee Posh, Hopi, Apache, Pasqua Yaqui Tribe, and others.
Gov. Lewis thanked the NCAI for visiting the Gila River Indian Community and asked tribal officials to support efforts to stop construction of the Loop 202 Extension because GRIC considers South Mountain a sacred site.
NCAI President Brian Cladoosby of the Swinomish Tribe of Washington said it was a pleasure to witness the continued preservation of Native cultures in Arizona.
“I’ve had the opportunity to travel throughout Indian Country and there is nothing better than being able to witness another area’s culture, to be able to see that the elders have taught the younger ones in a good way.”
As a group of basket dancers young and old danced in the background, he said, “When I witness this, I know that our culture is going to be alive and well for the next seven generations.”
Guests danced the night away with waila music provided by Gertie and the T.O. Boys.