June is silver in Oklahoma City as organizers prepare for the 25th anniversary of the Red Earth Native American Festival, June 3-5 at the Cox Convention Center.
After all this time, the festival highlighting the culture, art, language and traditions of Native American people continues to attract the best powwow dancers from all over the continent. They arrive with family and friends, dress in meticulously crafted regalia and put on a show of nations that dazzles.
During the festival, Cox Convention Center turns into a tribal crossroads where native artists demonstrate work and skill. Some of these skills have been handed down for generations, resulting in both contemporary and traditional basketry, beadwork, jewelry and pottery. Sculpture, painting and new art forms are all part of the juried show and market, which means visitors can take a little of Red Earth with them.
A parade (June 3), youth art show, stickball exhibition, races and cultural performances are on the schedule, but this festival is all about dancing.
Fancy dancers wear brilliantly colored feathers attached to multiple bustles to grab the attention. They spin to dizzying effect.
Straight and traditional dancers make their dress an earthy piece of art marking a steadfast presence.
Fringed grass dancers move as athletes around the center drum, while gourd dancers – Indian Nation’s warriors and veterans – stay the course.
When the women arrive, the buckskin dancer’s fringe sways in rhythm, while young jingle dancers skip and create a metal-clang beat of their own. The energetic fancy shawl dancer, bounding and holding her colors to the light, is always breathtaking.
Red Earth isn’t just entertainment, it’s a place where all are welcome to appreciate a shared history – all one nation.
For more, go to www.redearth.org.