‘We’re All Related’: Treaty Days Festival Celebrates the Homecoming

Traditional White Mountain Apache dancer Megan Begay with the Diamond Creek Crown Dancers performs at the Treaty Days festival in Shiprock.

Published June 23, 2019

SHIPROCK, N.M. — The Treaty Days Festival represents the “the return home,” says artist Candace Williams, whose painting with that title depicts the Long Walk home that began on June 18, 1868.

“The treaty day celebration is basically a reflection of strength, courage, and how we stand as a nation,” said Williams. “We can always look back on that, not to dwell on it, but to remember where we come from. It’s all about strength. Everybody has that inner strength.”

Held last weekend at the Healing Circle Wellness Center grounds, where Williams and other artists showcased their work, the festival was intended to celebrate the joy of that return.

From lectures to dances, art demonstrations, singing and poetry readings, participants shared the happiness of Navajos returning home in 1868, after an extended period of suffering and trauma.

Event Coordinator Anthony Lee said that the presenters delved in to what it would have felt like for the people that walked out of Ft. Sumner.

“We share the history of how our relatives felt and the joy of ‘We’re going home!” exclaimed Lee. “That’s what we celebrate.”

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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