Indigenous Arts Arizona Festival at Tempe Center for the Arts

Each Native American tribe has its own individual styles of music, dance, storytelling and visual arts. A new event in Tempe will highlight a variety of Indigenous traditions through music and dance performances, workshops and visual arts vendors.

The Indigenous Arts Arizona Festival will take place at the Tempe Center for the Arts on Saturday, Nov. 20.

Violet Duncan, the center’s Indigenous culture adviser, says that through the festival and programs such as the Saturday wellness series S.H.A.P.E., she hopes to provide a space for Native American artists and performers as well as educate people about Indigenous groups in Arizona.

“We want to make sure that, number one, we are instilling pride in Native students and Native families, that we are supportive of arts and culture. Tempe Center for the Arts is a big piece in that, showing that we are a mainstream arts organization that is supporting Native American Heritage Month.

“On top of that, with our non-Native colleagues and friends, to show them that this is our culture. It is vast, different and beautiful,” says Duncan, who is Plains Cree and Taino from the Kehewin Cree Nation.

The festival’s theme is healing

The Indigenous Arts Arizona Festival will feature Apache dancers from Yellow Bird Productions.

The festival will focus on various forms of healing, including dance, music, meditation and visuals.

“I know this past year, our healing and the way that we heal is affecting how we move forward. I really wanted to do this festival not only as a form of education but as a form of healing,” Duncan says.

Duncan says she was inspired by her children and how they use a variety of outlets to express, heal and center themselves. 

Angelia S. Rico

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