Elders give prayers at the Round Dance ceremony.
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
FORT HALL — The Annual Fort Hall Round Dance was January 25 and 26 and the Dixey family has hosted it for 23 years.
The event began in 1996 by Sonny Dixey and his late mother Shirley Topsky Dixey.
Sonny says the event is getting better and better every year.
He explained the significance of the round dance is to let the people enjoy the weekend with their loved ones who’ve passed on.
“They come down and enjoy this dance with us, but just for these two nights that I put it on,” he said.
Prayer is also done throughout the round dance. On Friday it begins with a feast to feed all the visitors, followed by a pipe ceremony, which starts the dance. Another feast and gift giving ceremony takes place on Saturday to express gratitude to the community.
Round Dance singers at the ceremony.
Honored singers are given a drum stick and sing the giveaway songs. Elders are also selected to pray for the family and community — they were Darrell Tendoy, Clinton Houtz, Anthony Broncho and Zelphia Towersap.
“It’s a really, really spiritual ceremony and I just absolutely love putting it on every year and getting all the people together for this weekend to really enjoy themselves,” said Dixey.
The invited drum groups were Blackstone from Sweetgrass, Saskatchewan, Canada; Marc Long John from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; Red Hoop Singers from Dresslerville, Nev.; Randy Paskemin from West Valley, Utah; Derrick Keeswood and J.R. Keeswood of Hogback, N.M. Dixey said they are all top-notch singers and they know all the latest songs.
Dixey encouraged people to attend the round dance to have good feelings coming in and leave with good feelings. He said the prayers given will help them out.
Emceeing the event was Earl “Archie” Arkinson and Bart Powaukee.
Other sponsors include the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Fort Hall Recreation, Tribal Enterprise and Tax Commission.