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Ak-Chin Indian Community 2019 San Juan Feast offers memories, celebration

Ak-Chin Indian Community 2019 San Juan Feast offers memories, celebration

Each year, the San Juan Feast recognizes the birth of Saint John the Baptist with significant events around the world. The Ak-Chin Indian Community also celebrates with festivities hosted by the Miguel family.

Ak-Chin Indian Community 2019 San Juan Feast offers memories, celebration

Photo courtesy of the Ak-Chin O’odham Newspaper

Robert Miguel, Chairman of the Ak-Chin Indian Community, notes this celebration is a time for his family, and the events are open to all. A memorial chapel located on the Miguel family property commemorates the Ak-Chin Indian Community’s first church, which was destroyed by a microburst in the 1960s.

Ak-Chin Indian Community 2019 San Juan Feast offers memories, celebration

Photo courtesy of the Ak-Chin O’odham Newspaper

After the storm, Ak-Chin Indian Community member Jonas Miguel, a patriarch of the Miguel family, sifted through the remains and kept items at his home. These mementos included statues, pictures, candles, and more. Jonas, his son, and sons-in-law built a chapel type structure to house these church artifacts. This provided a sanctuary for members of the Ak-Chin Indian Community to pray and to bring and house sacred statues, rosaries, wall plaques, and pictures.

Ak-Chin Indian Community 2019 San Juan Feast offers memories, celebration

Photo courtesy of the Ak-Chin O’odham Newspaper

Every year in the Ak-Chin Indian Community, the San Juan Feast starts at sunrise with the opening of the doors of the church and a blessing. Then, a procession forms from the original church site back over to the sanctuary. After returning to the sanctuary, the Miguel family hosts a full day of celebration. The property features six homes with extended family living on site. The property includes covered patios with chairs and tables, offering spots for visitors to relax and enjoy the festivities, enjoying the children playing and include music, prayers, singing and dancing, and lots of great food.

Ak-Chin Indian Community 2019 San Juan Feast offers memories, celebration

Photo courtesy of the Ak-Chin O’odham Newspaper

The San Juan Feast was celebrated by the Ak-Chin Indian Community on Saturday, June 22. It started with the sunrise open of the doors to the sanctuary and blessings, then baptisms at 2 p.m. followed by a rosary procession. Later, entertainment at the Miguel family property included the Four Tribe Youth Council, Ak-Chin Ba: Ban Dancers, and T.O. Mumsingo. Fireworks and a procession happened at 8 p.m., and the festivities lasted until midnight.

Ak-Chin Indian Community 2019 San Juan Feast offers memories, celebration

Photo courtesy of the Ak-Chin O’odham Newspaper

What a magnificent way to carry on traditions, memories and history in the Ak-Chin Indian Community! Thank you to the Miguel family for hosting this event.

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Carolyn Sostrom is a long-time Arizona resident who loves desert sunsets, warm weather and zumba. As a writer, she’s covered technology, medical and travel topics.

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