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Tue, Nov. 19

Native American culture and history in festival spotlight

PRESCOTT -- The Smoki Museum's upcoming "Native American Arts Festival" will not only provide entertainment with dancers, musicians and other performers, but it will also educate people about the culture and history of Native Americans.

The event, which will take place on May 28 and 29, "will allow us to discover our own historic roots in Prescott and be exposed to different Native American art forms," said J.T. Tannous, director of the Smoki Museum.

Tannous said he and curator Elynn Coliainni planned the event around the museum's 70th birthday, which is on May 29.

Coliainni said people decided to build the original museum in 1935 "with a collection of pottery and other artifacts. Those artifacts were being stored in the Palace, and an archeologist helped the Smoki people to categorize everything and properly preserve it."

Tannous said they wanted to have a Native American festival because "it brings all the different aspects of Native American arts into one setting."

Aside from artifacts, four-time world champion hoop dancer, Derrick Davis, will perform, as well as musician/artist Xavier Quijas Yxayotl.

"We want to expose Indian artists to new audiences," Coliainni said.

The festival will also include jewelry, paintings, carvings, food, basket weaving and demonstrations.

Coliainni said the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe's life skills program will provide a craft center for children with puppet shows and storytelling.

The Blue Rose Theater will also perform skits about historical people from the Prescott area, such as Sharlot Hall and Grace Sparkes.

Coliainni said the children have also been interviewing elders from local Indian tribes and have created an oral project called "Voices," which will be on display.

The "Native American Arts Festival" will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 28 and 29, and admission is free. For more information, call 445-1230 or visit

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