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Native American Festival at Tahoe

Staff reports

Native American dancing, foods and arts will be on display this weekend at the South Shore of Lake Tahoe, the spiritual home of the Cailfornia and Nevada Washoe Tribe.

The seventh annual Wa She Shu It Deh Native American Fine Arts Festival will be held July 25-27 at the Tallac Historic Site at South Lake Tahoe.

The public is invited to the opening and the three-day festival.

The event is named after the Washoe phrase meaning Washoe People’s Land.

The festival has grown from an event showcasing Washoe basketmakers to a celebration of Native American arts and includes the basketry of many western tribes, jewelry craftsmanship, native visual arts and dancing exhibitions.

Native peoples honor and applaud the many who keep the knowledge of cultural traditions and legacies alive through their artistry, skill and perseverance, a tribal spokesperson said.

The festival opens Friday at 6 p.m. at the Pope Estate with a blessing ceremony. Washoe Tribal Chairman A. Brian Wallace will give the welcome, honored speaker is Cruz Bustamante, speaker of the California State Assembly, and special guests are California Sens. Bill Lockyer, president of the senate, and Richard Polanco, plus Assemblymember Tony Cardenas. A festive dinner with native foods will be held.

Entrants in the basket competition may register 9-11 a.m. Saturday at Valhalla. Judging will follow and results will be announced in the afternoon.

Dance exhibitions will be held Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. with the Miwok Dance Group, Wind Spirit Dancers, Maidu Dancers and traditionalists and the Kashio Pomo Dancers. At 2 p.m., the Dresslerville Players will enact traditional Washoe tales, and following the presentation, the dance groups will repeat their performances. They will also dance at Sunday beginning at 10:30 a.m. and again in the afternoon beginning at 1:30 p.m.

The festival is sponsored by the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

Also assisting in the festival are Richardson’s Resort, Nevada Indian Environmental Coalition and the Nevada Commission on Tourism.

The festival is a drug- and alcohol-free event. For more information, call 265-4191.