Kurt Hildebrand

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July 27, 2012
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Washoe return home to Tahoe for annual festival

The Washoe return home this weekend to celebrate and showcase their culture at the 22nd annual Wa She Shu It Deh Native American Arts festival.

Translating roughly to "Our People's Land," Tribal Chairwoman Wanda Batchelor said the annual event is about connecting with the land and water.

"It has always been an opportunity for our Washoe people and their families to come back to our aboriginal homeland," she said. "It showcases our culture, our arts and crafts, basketweaving, story telling and revitalizing our language."

Lake Tahoe is sacred to the Washoe Tribe.

"It's a connection to our homeland that is the core of our being," Batchelor said. "The Lake is our healing place. It lets us maintain a connection to the land and the water. That's vital to our survival and the foundation of the Washoe people."

Neighboring tribes are invited to participate in the event, including the Miwuk dancers, Chumash Bird Singers and Pyramid Lake singers.

The event takes place at the Tallac Historic Site, located along Highway 89 just west of South Lake Tahoe.

"We work in cooperation with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and the Tallac Association to bring this cultural education event to the general public."

Batchelor said the event is also an opportunity for the Washoe to remind the rest of the world that they're still around.

"I've heard people say they thought we'd died out," she said. ""It's good to promote that the Washoe Tribe is still here and very much a viable presence at Lake Tahoe."

The event attracts nearly 1,000 visitors over the two days. The festival features native basket and art competitions, arts and crafts, dance and drum performances and food vendors.

The Wa She Shu It Deh Festival is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is free to the public. Shuttle service is provided from the Valhalla entrance along Highway 89.

For more information call (800) 769-2746 or visit washoetribe.us.

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The Record Courier Updated Jul 27, 2012 08:34PM Published Jul 27, 2012 08:32PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.