Once again, Downtown Summerlin is excited to host Southern Paiute and Culture District during the Festival of Arts. The Culture District will be open on Saturday, Oct. 14 and Sunday, Oct. 15. This special addition, which debuted last year, returns to honor the important cultural roots of Southern Nevada while celebrating handcrafted Southern Paiute fine art and folk crafts available for purchase beneath The Pavilion just steps from The Lawn. Displays will include beaded jewelry, woven works of art, prints, buttons, shirts, clay pottery and much more!
Visitors will also enjoy colorful and inspiring Native American dances in the Dining Arroyo from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day of the Festival, performed by Nuwu Wonumeegah; Calpulli Tlatelolco Azteca/Chichimeca Dance Circle, and Las Vegas Native American Dancers.
We caught up with Fawn Douglas of Nuwu Art to learn more about this unique feature at the Summerlin Festival of Arts, and here’s what she had to say.
What does it mean to have the opportunity to participate in the Festival of Arts?
Fawn: “This will be our second year participating in the Festival of Arts in Summerlin, and we are proud to be in community with everyone on our ancestral, Southern Paiute lands. There is a misconception that Native American people are a thing of the past, but being able to participate in this festival shows that we are still here, and we are still a thriving community. The audience at the Festival of Arts is multi-cultural and intergenerational. We come together from different backgrounds to share our arts, our culture, and to meet amazing people! We are grateful that we get to exchange kindness and build an educational connection through the arts.”
How important is it to ensure the community understands the significant role and influence of Native American tribes on the Southern Nevada region?
Fawn: “Because Summerlin is so close to Nuwu (Southern Paiute) sacred areas at the Red Rock Conservation area, it is important for us to have a presence in the celebration. It is not only us sharing our art, dances, and culture, but we also get to discuss stewardship with people who live or visit these areas. We are not only artisans, we are people who care about these lands. Unfortunately, there have been harms, namely graffiti, at sites where petroglyphs and pictographs from our ancestors are written. With participation in Summerlin Festival of Arts, we can bring awareness about caring for these areas that we all share and call home.”
What do your participants enjoy most about their involvement with the Festival of Arts?
Fawn: “The vendors and the dancers that joined us at the Festival of Arts in 2022 truly enjoyed it! From the performer’s perspective, they were able to share their dances and songs with a broader audience. Our artisans were not only Southern Paiute, but Northern Paiute, Shoshone, Cherokee, Tewa, Dińe and Mexica, to name a few of the cultural backgrounds. It is a gift for spectators and shoppers to walk away not only with an object or an artwork, but also a sense of knowing about the artist and the traditions behind the artwork. Look for us and our vending booths in the mall area to learn more about our culture.”