This weekend, Tesoro Cultural Center is teaming up with The Fort Restaurant to present The 19th Annual Indian Market & Powwow. Tesoro Cultural Center is a non-profit organization that strives to protect and give access to the rich history that Colorado holds with art, historical re-enactments, educational outreach programs and more. The organization’s mission is to preserve and celebrate cultural heritage.

The market’s annual two-day celebration is held on June 1 through June 2 and is dedicated to the American Indian tribes that shaped the community of the once Old Bent’s Fort that The Fort Restaurant honors. Over the years the attendance has grown and around 6,000 people come during the course of the weekend.

Brooke Traylor, the Managing Director of Tesoro Culture Center stated, “This event is special every year and I always feel honored to be a part of it. It has so much to offer and provides for an incredible cultural experience. There isn’t one thing I’m looking forward to, but rather I’m looking forward to the event as a whole because of all that the event encapsulates — the opportunity to learn about Native traditions and see that these traditions are very much alive.”

If you want to get in on the action before the market and powwow starts you can take part in a Tesoro member-exclusive Meet the Artists Patron Party on May 31. It’s at The Fort Restaurant and you can meet artists who are presenting their works in the market and art show, listen to live music, purchase some art pieces and nibble on hors d’oeuvres from The Fort. The event is $20 if you have a membership with Tesoro. More information here and here.

Photo Courtesy of Tesoro Cultural Center.

Throughout the weekend you can experience an amazing array of Native American art within the market as it stands as “Colorado’s largest authentic and juried American Indian art show,” according to organizers. More than 50 nationally acclaimed Indian artists will be in attendance including Eddie Morrison (Cherokee), Andy Marion (Diné) and Carol Snow (Seneca). You can explore different mediums from sculpture to painting, photography and more. The art show will be juried by the Council for Indigenous Art and Culture (CIAC). There will be categories that artists are entered into and judged by judges from the CIAC, the University of Denver and Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

The event will also honor Diné American Indian Veteran Sgt. 1st Class Cindy Littlefeather. Each year the Indian Market & Powwow celebrates one American Indian veteran in a special ceremony to thank them for their service. As the event celebrates each part of Native American culture you can watch a two-day contest Powwow that has participation from over 40 Indian nations with performances from the Red Spirit Singers to really amp up the festivities. You can also see a live bald eagle from the Colorado nonprofit HawkQuest, listen to live musical performances and hear Native storytelling.

Photo Courtesy of Tesoro Cultural Center.

If you love food, you can grab delights from Tocabe – a traditional Native American restaurant dishing bites such as Indian tacos or from The Fort Restaurant slinging out classic Western grub.

“This rich cultural event is an experience unlike any other. This event is the only one of its kind in the state of Colorado, and provides for meaningful learning opportunities for all ages by immersing guests in Native art, culture, and dance,” said Traylor.

The Indian Market & Powwow is an amazing place to celebrate all aspects of Native American culture and art. However, if you are non-native, keep in mind you that have to be aware of cultural sensitivity and respectfulness while exploring and having a fun time.

Traylor states, “This event offers opportunities for visitors to get involved and participate in activities such as examining historical Native artifacts with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, doing STEM-related learning activities provided by History Colorado, listening to Native music and storytelling, and more at the event. When it comes to the Powwow, there is a protocol relating to the dancing competition. All Powwow dancers must register at the event to participate. As an observer or visitor watching the Powwow, one cannot participate in the dances unless registered. It’s important for those watching to know that all dances have meaning, as does the regalia that is worn. All of which needs to be respected.”

Tickets are $10 per person or free for children 12 and under. The proceeds will go towards Tesoro Cultural Center’s educational programs. Tickets can be purchased here. The Fort Restaurant is located at 19192 CO-8, Morrison.

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