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One good thing to do in Phoenix: explore the S’edav Va’aki Museum

S’edav Va’aki Museum emerges as cultural entrance to Hohokam heritage
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

In March of this year, the city of Phoenix moved to rebrand the Pueblo Grande Museum as the S’edav Va’aki Museum to better illustrate the heritage of the Native American communities who originally settled in the area.

Those Native Americans hail from the Hohokam culture and the site on which the S’edav Va’aki Museum stands is a National Historic Landmark.

S’edav Va’aki Museum will be recognized as the gateway to the cultural history of the Phoenix area,” the vision for the rebirth of the museum reads.

“In collaboration with our communities, we will create memorable experiences that link past to present. ​To honor the site of S’edav Va’aki Museum as a unique community resource through sound preservation practices, engaging educational programs, and the thoughtful care and presentation of cultural materials.”

Phoenix Parks and Recreation officials say the key focus of the museum is to “foster understanding, appreciation, and respect” for the heritage of the Valley of the Sun.

At the time when announcements were made of the rebranded museum, Parks and Recreation officials made a formal land-acknowledgment statement, that reads, in part:

“The Parks and Recreation Department acknowledges the city of Phoenix is located within the homeland of the O’Odham and Piipaash peoples and their ancestors, who have inhabited this landscape from time immemorial to present day. The landscape is sacred and reflects cultural values central to the O’Odham and Piipaash way of life and their self-definition. This acknowledgment demonstrates our commitment to work in partnership with the Ancestral Indigenous Communities to foster understanding, appreciation, and respect for this heritage.”

To read the full statement go HERE.

The S’edav Va’aki Museum Indian Market this December

The 46th Annual S’edav Va’aki Museum Indian Market — formerly known as Pueblo Grande Museum Indian Market — takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10, at 4619 E. Washington St. in Phoenix. The Indian Market features more than 110 Native American artists vending fine art, crafts and cultural items, as well as main stage performances, cultural demonstrator area and food sales.

Main stage entertainment includes hoop dancing, Native American flute, an Indie Rock band, traditional dance and solo guitar.

The cultural demonstrators in the Ki:him (O’odham word for village) area provide hands-on learning in hoop dancing, beading, gourd art, shell etching, mask making and other activities suitable for all ages.

Performers on the main stage include:

  • Gabriel Ayala (Yaqui), renowned composer and guitar player
  • Tony Duncan (Apache, Arikara and Hidatsa), World Champion Hoop Dancer and Native American flute player
  • Violet Duncan (Kehewin Cree), internationally recognized dancer and storyteller
  • Chi Chino Spirit O’Odham Dance Group, traditional song and dance of the Akimel O’Odham (Pima Tribe) from Gila River Indian Community
  • One Way Sky, an Indie Rock band also from the Gila River Indian Community

Martha Ludlow-Martinez, a singer and storyteller from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, is the main stage emcee. At the Indian Market, guests can enjoy popular Native American foods including fry bread and Navajo tacos from vendors like Tammy & Chris’s Frybread, Skoden Coffee, The REZ an Urban Eatery and Sunny Concessions.

This year’s featured artist for the market is Kevin Horace-Quannie (Hopi, Navajo) who specializes in carved kachina dolls (some of which have been transformed into bronze sculptures) and abstract sand-textured paintings. A member of the Water, Corn and Salt Clans from the Hopi and Navajo Communities, Quannie began his artistic journey carving kachinas during his career as a tribal ranger.

“Though our name may be different, we are confident that our renewed dedication to educating Arizonans on the history of the land will shine through this year’s market,” said Nicole Armstrong-Best, museum administrator. “This event is not just for Native Americans in the community. We challenge all Arizonans to come explore this hands-on learning experience to celebrate the land’s ancestral roots.”

Entrance to the museum is included in admission for guests to explore the rich history of the Va’aki, the large mound on-site where ancestors of the O’Odham and Piipaash peoples built their community. All items sold at the Indian Market comply with The Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA) of 1990 and are authentic and handmade.

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