DENVER, CO /Send2Press Newswire/ — “The fans loved us,” said Snow Wing, Ute Mountain’s Miss Indian Colorado, as the Nuggets won their 3rd exciting victory (against LA Clippers) at Friday’s 3rd Annual “Salute to the American Indians of Colorado Night” at the Pepsi Center. 45 of Colorado’s finest pow wow dancers and princesses from the Southern Ute (near Durango) and Ute Mountain (near Cortez) Nations, united with the Denver Indian community, to give mainstream Coloradoans a chance to celebrate their splendid earth-honoring heritage, according to Native Voices Foundation (NVF).
“Saluting our tribes has brought us amazing karma,” said Nuggets manager Kiki Vandeweghe (Blackfeet). With the blessing of Pepsi owner Stan Kroenke (Cherokee), Kiki and Olympic skier Suzy Chaffee, co-chair of NVF, teamed up three years ago to help inspire the preservation of the Rocky Mountain playgrounds by remembering the wisdom of the First Families of Colorado – “take what you need and save the rest for the children.”
For openers, the crowd gasped as Alden Naranjo, Southern Ute spiritual leader and co-founder of NVF with Suzy, led the prayer in his Ute tongue, surrounded by the magnificent dancers in regalia honoring Nature’s colorful birds, 4 legged, on which we depend. Then Dee St Cyr (Winnebago), Chairman of the Denver Indian Center, beautifully sang the national anthem proudly standing next to American Indian Veterans, Gilbert Dutchie and Alden. Carrie Howell (Cheyenne) signed the song to include Denver’s large deaf community, learned from her daughter Michelle, a hoop dancing champ. Carrie was also the event coordinator, sponsored by Denver’s Peak Bank, thanks to Apache Banker Cleo Arrellano, and NVF.
For the half time show, Howell’s “7 Falls Dancers” performed the spectacular hoop dance on center court, creating intricate symbols (planet Earth, rainbows) with up to 25 hoops, along with Ute Mountains Catching Eagle singers and drummers, surrounded by a Grand March featuring all the other dancers. The hoop represents the prophesied healing of the circle of life and family of man. Thanks to the Pepsi Center’s Jumbotron, fans also got to see the littlest one – two year Penelope Rodriguez, formerly known as “Sometimes She Dances, Sometimes She Doesn’t,” fresh from command performances for the Lieutenant Governors of America and Today Show’s host Katie Couric.
Chaffee dedicated the evening to the spirit of Eugene Naranjo, the Southern Ute Unity leader, who first took a chance on creating a bridge between the Ute Nation and Telluride community after a chance meeting in 1996. Thanks to his vision, now 100 ski resorts across America want to invite their tribes back to their ancestral lands to share the joy of skiing and snowboarding. Like Nuggets Night, this outreach has meant priceless snow blessings to America’s snowfarmers.
Suzy proclaimed that, “All this could not have happened if not for Eugene, whose family was honored there: his wife Dixie, daughters Brandi Raines and Mikki Roubideaux and children, Seth, Kai, and Alexandria, brother Alden and son Keaton.” Thanks to the sponsorship of their Sky Ute Lodge and Casino in Ignacio, the “Shadowwind Dance Group” was able to bring Ute Tribal leaders for the first time, Southern Ute Chairman Clement Frost, Vice Chairman Jocelyn Dutchie, as well as their stunning Princesses, led by Miss Southern Ute Lyndsey Box, and their tribal member dancers to this ultimate celebration of unity. And to celebrate a man who also helped spread that spirit abroad, fulfilling a request by President Gorbachev to send their “Southern Ute Heritage Dancer’s” (including Brandi) to open Russia’s Goodwill Games.
The Ute Mountain Manning Dancers, led by Mother Lisa from Towaoc, have also been shining Ambassadors of Colorado. In appreciation to the eight Colorado ski communities graciously sharing skiing and boarding with the Tribes, they recently danced and sang the praises of Colorado Ski Country at Korea’s Pacific Rim Travel Expo, gratis!
NVF has grown into a partnership of US Tribal leaders and Olympians, now spearheading Native Americans having a chance to compete in future Olympics as Sovereign Nations. “Olympians at Athens saluted our tribes for inventing the roots of ten Olympic sports, including basketball (along with S. American tribes), thanks to the united research of Iroquois Lacrosse Grandmaster Chief Oren Lyons and Thomas Vennum, retired head ethnologist at Washington’s Smithsonian,” said Chaffee.
More information http://www.nativevoices.org