November has a lot more to offer than football and turkey. It is also Native American Heritage Month, and on Thanksgiving weekend three events will honor the richness of native heritages with crafts, music, food and gatherings.
About 30 Native American arts and crafts booths and live entertainment are expected to fill the plaza across from the church at the Mission San Xavier del Bac Friday. There is no admission charge, but be sure to bring cash if you’re hoping for some of that beloved fry bread.
The Native American Indian Heritage Month Social and Indian Craft Market starts Saturday.
“It’s a gathering of native artists to showcase their unique cultural backgrounds from different tribes,” said Fred Synder, a volunteer organizer. “We try to find the Indian Rembrandts and Van Goghs and Picassos and encourage them to continue their art from their cultural backgrounds, whether it be song, dance, crafts food, or fashions.”
Synder said more than 400 tribes and almost 3,000 artisans will be involved, including Tohono O’odham basket weaving, a Hopi Kachina doll maker, and a turquoise collection for visitors to purchase pieces or get missing stones replaced. There will also be brochures to help people who might be looking for information about their heritage.
“What is unique about our event is that it is from the Native American point of view, whether it’s dancing or arts and crafts.” Synder said.
Parking and admission are free, but donations to a scholarship fund will be accepted.
The Tucson Indian Market debuts at the Whistle Stop Depot on Saturday. This festival, organized by Yaqui guitarist Gabriel Ayala, will include musical and other tribal performers from Arizona and other states. All craft and food booths will be Native American-owned.