Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial is hosting their Third Annual Gourd Dance on Saturday May 12, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Beginning at 8:00 p.m., Joe Tohonnie Jr. and the White Mountain Apache Crown Dancers will be performing their fire dance to close the ceremonies. Gourd Dancing actually originated with the Kiowa Tribe. According to Kiowa Gourd Dance coordinator JJ Ahboah, “in the time when humans could still communicate with animals, a Kiowa man was separated from his tribe. Lost, hungry, and dehydrated, he began to hear singing. Following the singing, he came upon a Red Wolf standing upright. This Red Wolf shared songs and dances with the Kiowa man from sunrise to sunset. When the Kiowa man returned to his tribe, he shared all of the songs and dances with them. This dance began as a warriors dance as well as to promote well-being within the tribe. Now it has evolved into a social dance, because so many other tribes have adopted it.” The Navajo and the Mescalero Apache adopted Gourd Dancing in the mid 20th Century. Today, Gourd Dances can be held for many purposes such as: return of veterans, birthdays, or in the case of Fort Sumner Historic Site, to promote healing and strengthening of intertribal relations. Many Navajo and Mescalero Apache Elders are journeying from the Four Corners region and the area surrounding the Sacramento Mountains to be a part of this historic dance, despite what their oral traditions have dictated. For many, the oral traditions passed down from the generations held in captivity at Bosque Redondo Reservation, have stated not to go back to Fort Sumner or speak of the atrocities that occurred. However, the current generations understand that the contemporary tragedy occurring is the loss of cultural history with their youth. Through this dance, they are reclaiming that history. We invite you and your families to join us on this momentous occasion.
Additionally, there will be respected speakers, traditional foods, and craft vendors from both the Mescalero Apache Tribe and the Navajo Nation present. Admission is free. Please join us and let the healing begin.