Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for September 2, 2009
Sounds of Thunder Mountain Heritage Day
The Kaibab Paiute Tribe hosted its 18th Sounds of Thunder Mountain Heritage Day Celebration August 15 and 16. The event was a delight for the senses with dancers, singers and drum groups from around the country.
The Powwow began each morning with honored veterans proudly carrying the Kaibab Paiute Tribal flag and the American flag. Next were dancers of all ages skillfully displaying their unique traditional dance styles.
The regalia, which are the beautiful, traditional attire worn by the participants of the Powwow, are unique to each of the dance styles. Regalia for fancy dance are typically comprised of bustles of traditional dancers, but on a larger, brighter scale. Colorful beads and feathers adorn the regalia and ornate head dresses called roaches. The vibrant regalia compliment the fast moving, breathtaking fancy dance.
Jingle dancers wear regalia to catch the eye and to create the sound likened to rain falling on a tin roof. The brightly colored fabric is adorned with hundreds of cone shaped jingles typically created from metal snuff or chewing tobacco can lids.
There are several legends associated with the origin of the jingle dance. One legend says the exotic movements and attire were created as a medicine. In the late 1800s, it is said a tribal elder fell very ill and was expected to die shortly. A vision came to him of a young woman who showed him a medicine dress that could heal him. She showed him all of the materials needed as well as how to create the beautiful dress. She taught him the movements and songs to make the dress’ medicine work.
Before the vision disappeared, she told the elder he must teach his three grand daughters what she had shown him. It is said the grand daughters miraculously healed the elder through the jingle dance and he was able to live for many years.
According to another legend, it was a cherished grand daughter who fell ill. Regardless of the origin, there is no question of the beauty and grace of the jingle dancers.
Many of the singers, dancers and drum groups in attendance travel to compete at Powwows across the country. They incorporate tradition and spirituality into each step and beat of the drum.
The Powwow was a success thanks to the dedicated committee, tribal employees, countless volunteers, sponsors and participants.