The Ak-Chin Indian Community celebrated their 4th year of Native American Recognition Day (NARD) with their elders and community members on September 26th. The celebration took place at Milton “Paul” Antone Park, and it was a beautiful and sunny day for all of the activities that took place. Cowboy Lifestyle Network was fortunate enough to sit down and interview community members Johnny Lopez, Melanie Antone, and Holly Antone about the celebration.
Johnny Lopez told us “the first year we celebrated NARD was in front of the Ak-Chin Indian Community EcoMuseum. Since then, it has grown substantially with the participants and members of the community, and so it was moved to Milton “Paul” Antone Park to accommodate all of the events.”
Holly Antone advised this year’s theme was “Sharing our culture through the art of our People. It brings the authenticity of the culture to members who will enjoy a day of pride and honor”.
The day started off with the Fun Run & Walk organized by the Ak-Chin Museum staff. Shirts were given to those who participated in the event. Another event was the 5K run hosted by the Recreation Department. Children enjoyed having their faces painted for the occasion, and jumping and sliding on air blown slides and bounce houses.
The Yellow House dancers from the Navajo Nation performed dance and music demonstrations that were very entertaining and informative in regards to detailing certain movements in dances and explaining what they meant and/or stood for. The dance team had children of all ages come to the performing area and learn dances. It was so impressive to see children participate in cultural dancing and enjoying themselves.
Artist Joseph Smith, a Community Member was painting a picture during the event. Mr. Smith is a self-taught artist, and he paints the Ak-Chin way of living. Mr. Smith has paintings on exhibit at the Museum and at some of the Ak-Chin Indian Community Enterprises.
Another artist at the celebration was well-known basket weaving artist, Sally Antone. Ms. Antone had all of her supplies displayed on a table and explained a little about how she uses the devil claw in her baskets. Ms. Antone informed us that she taught basket weaving classes at the Museum to keep this part of the Ak-Chin Indian Community heritage alive through her work.
For more information, you may contact the Museum front desk at (520) 568-1350.