Cuyamaca College Powwow. Courtesy Photo

Native News Online’s weekly column highlights upcoming arts, entertainment and cultural events taking place all across Indian Country. Every Thursday morning, we’re delivering a round-up of events you might want to check out, if they’re happening in your area.

Today, we look at a historic project that spans the entire country, while also breaking down some powwows and festivals happening this weekend. Native News Online also spotlights some recent press on poet Joy Harjo, an acclaimed Native American writer and the nation’s first ever Native American Poet Laureate. 


2020 Brooksville Native American Festival BROOKSVILLE, FLORIDA FEB. 1-2, 2020 Location: Florida Classic Park: 5360 Lockhart Rd. Adults $10, Kids 5-12 $5, under 5 is FREE. Parking is FREE.

The Brooksville Native American Festival, now in its seventh year, happens at Florida Classic Park from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Any dancer showing up in regalia gets free entrance and food voucher as well free camping if they wish to stay the weekend. RV and primitive camping available. Many vendors from across the country (and from over two dozen tribes) will be on hand offering up traditional arts and treasures. Food will be available for seven or eight vendors, offering up everything from buffalo burgers and frybread to common fair like hotdogs.

As for the entertainment, The Red Boyz drum keeps the beat again this year. The Red Boys have traveled the country sharing their traditional songs, some going back many generations.

Also returning is the Shelley Morningsong & Fabian Fontenelle. Morningsong is an award-winning singer and songwriter and Fontenelle is an original member of Native American Dance Theater. As a duo, the pair offers a performance that brings the spirit and traditions of Native America to life.

Luis Salinas and his family of Aztec dancers also return this year. Originally from Mexico City, Salinas and his family toured the country sharing their songs and dances.

A first-time performer at the fest is Jim Sawgrass, a Muscogee Creek citizen who has been a teacher and educator for over 30 years. Sawgrass will be setup with his Eastern-style hunters camp and plains-style tipi.

For the full schedule, visit brooksvillenativeamericanfest.com.


82nd Annual O'odham Wapkial Ha-tas Pow Wow, Rodeo, & Fair SELLS, ARIZONA Feb. 1-2, 2020 Location: Eugene P. Tashquinth Livestock Complex, AZ-86. The annual O'odham Wapkial Ha-tas Pow Wow, Rodeo, & Fair, now in its 82nd year, returns with master of ceremonies Chuck Benson (D/Lakota, Tucson, Arizona), and a roster of other amazing talent, including:

Host Northern Drum: Indian Hill (Apple Valley, California) Host Southern Drum: Strictly Southern (Keams Canyon, Arizona) Head Man Dancer: Jared Brown (Sawmill, Arizona) Head Lady Dancer: Renae Black Water (Oglala Lakota and Navajo) Head Gourd Dancer: Ipa Dutchover (Onk Akimel O’odham, Salt River, Arizona)

On top of that, the Drum Contest awards 1st place with $3,000, while 2nd place gets $2,000 and 3rd takes home $1,000. Meanwhile, the Women’s Jingle Special offers up $1,000 (1st place), $500 (2nd place) and $300 for (3rd place).


The 6th Annual Cuyamaca College Powwow in El Cajon, California kicks off Saturday, Feb 1. For the full scoop, vist facebook.com/nasa.cuyamaca and be sure to “like” their page for updates. Admission and parking is free. For further details, contact the organizer, Maria Gearhart at [email protected]


A&E NEWS: Acclaimed Native American writer chats with Washington Post Recently, Joe Heim of the Washington Post spoke with Joy Harjo, the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States. Harjo, 68, is a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation and the first Native American to hold the position, which she was awarded last summer. In the Q&A, Harjo said of the honor of being named Poet Laureate: “It’s like lightning going through you. I realized in that moment that I had to say yes, especially because of what it means for native people.” Read the full conversation here.

Born on May 9, 1951, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo is a University of New Mexico graduate. She is an accomplished poet, musician and playwright—with a stack of honors and awards to prove it. Over the years, she’s authored several books of poetry, including 2019’s American Sunrise.

Editor’s Note: If you have an upcoming arts event or powwow you want share with Native News Online readers, please send information in advance to: [email protected]

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Author: Rich Tupica