This year’s theme is “reclaiming our stewardship practices [of the land]”, a continuation of last year’s theme, emphasizing the impacts of climate change as a threat to the Washoe Tribe’s cultural traditions.
The Washoe Tribe spent their summers in Lake Tahoe for thousands of years, and this is the one weekend each year they share their history, food and customs with the public. The Washoe people feel it is their responsibility to educate the surrounding communities about the importance of taking proactive steps to protect the natural beauty of Tahoe and the surrounding area. As original stewards the Washoe people have always “left no trace”.
In order for the Washoe traditions to continue there needs to be preservation of all the things that keep the Washoe culture alive, from the willows used to make baskets to the wildlife and habitat that are used in traditional meals and ceremonies. Washoe language and culture is intrinsically tied to their homeland and the people cannot be separated from the land from which they come.
The center of the Wašiw world is DáɁaw Ɂaga (the edge of the lake - Lake Tahoe) both geographically and spiritually. Like most native peoples their lifestyles revolved around the environment; the people were part of the environment, and by taking care of the environment everything they needed was provided.
The environmental concerns throughout the homelands of the Washoe continue to be threatened. These threats are threats to their art of basketry and all their cultural traditions. An assessment done on Climate Change Vulnerability by Adaptation International shows that the environment is changing drastically due to overuse, ignorance and neglect bringing about the looming threat to the Washoe way of life and values of the Washoe people.
For nearly three decades, members of the Washoe Tribe have come together at Valhalla for a festival of dance, music, and story-telling while sharing generations of their cultural past and revived traditions. The festival showcases artist booths and vendors from around the western region. Vendors plan to sell Indian tacos, jewelry, art and clothing and there will be demonstrations and exhibits.
Food and drinks will be available for purchase. The event features a Basketry competition that showcases Washoe Basketry and traditional Basketry from across the United States. There is also a fashion show showcasing Washoe designers and the Washoe community at large. The festival will feature traditional Paiute and Miwok (two other regional Tribes) dance performances and will be featuring pop-up live art exhibits as well as contemporary music performances.
Free parking is located along Hwy 89/Emerald Bay Road at the Valhalla entrance gate and at the Tallac Historic Site main entrance with shuttle service to and from the event. For more information, please call (775) 265-8600 or (775) 781-4853
LOCATION: Tallac Historic Site, 1 Valhalla Rd. South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
TIME: Saturday, July 27th (9am-5pm) and Sunday, July 28th (9am-4pm)
The Washoe Tribe’s mission is to promote the revitalization, appreciation and perpetuation of Washoe Tribe, American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian arts and cultures. To learn more about the WaSheShu itdeh’— visit: www.washoe.us.
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ELVIA McDONALD, Executive Assistant
919 US Highway 395 N, Gardnerville, NV 89410