Native Village 
Youth and Education News
May, 2013

Turning the Page at the Page High School UNITY Contest  Powwow
Condensed by Native Village


Jingle dancer Leah C. Hoschain of Kearns, Utah

Due to school and work responsibilities Hoschain seldom gets to dance anymore but she made the trek down to Arizona to support her sister and powwow organizer Shannon Secody. 

Arizona: Last month, more than 100 dancers and nearly 1,500 people attended the UNITY Contest Powwow at Page High School in Page, AZ.
The annual event saw the usual southward migration of Utah dancers. It also paid respects to a beloved member of the pow wow community.

Longtime friend of the Page pow wow and local dancer, Cecil American-Horse, was honored with a song.  Cecil died of a heart-attack in February while chopping wood for his granddaughter's Kinaaldá. More than 100 people lined up at the powwow circle to shake hands and express their condolences to his family and close friends.

"At first it is hard to come to a pow wow," said his daughter, Lucy American-Horse. "It was hard to come into the building and even watch grand entry and not see my dad there."

"It felt good and then sad to remember him," his widow, Cora, said. "A lot of people didn't know he passed away and they were really surprised and sad."

Jimmie Austin, a respected northern traditional dancer from Kayenta, skipped a larger powwow where his son was singing to attend this one with family and friends of American-Horse.

"I used to call Cecil my brother and he called me the same," Austin said.  "This guy was a good teacher. He wasn't afraid and didn't hold back on anybody because he wanted to let people know where this all came from. I always  tried to listen."

The popular pow wow -- the only one in Page -- almost didn't happen this year because many sponsors backed out. Despite the setbacks, coordinator Shannon Secody was determined to see it through. She and the high school's
UNITY Club chapter secured donations from new sponsors and found funding elsewhere.

UNITY is a Native youth organization based in Oklahoma. It has chapters across the tribal U.S. and Canada.

"I probably have close to 30 active students in the club and they mainly did a lot of food concessions because a lot of our fund-raising comes from selling food," Secody said. "Some of them danced as well and were encouraged by the community because the people and local communities want to see a local powwow here."

Two small figures stuck-out on among the sea of Native people and regalia of all colors. Sabine Dederoy and Michele Arnal from France were vacationing in nearby Antelope Canyon and were delighted to hear of the event. This was their first powow.

“The pow wow is marvelous, just gorgeous. We didn't understand a single word in any of the songs but it was still wonderful," Dederoy said.

In addition to the honor song for Cecil American-Horse, the contest pow wow also featured a drum and hand-drum contest and a teen girls fancy special.

On Sunday morning, an exhausted Secody had a late breakfast.  She was happy about so many accolades and positive feedback from dancers and community members the night before, but now she had to rush to the store.

"I need to get some of that stuff that removes frybread grease from the floor," Secody said. 

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