Sharing Navajo culture through song and dance

Noel Lyn Smith

FARMINGTON — The fall Navajo song and dance at the Farmington Indian Center is once again marking the end of the local fair season.
The song and dance is a social event that evolved from Nidáá, a Navajo healing ceremony.
Dancers move in a clockwise rotation following the rhythm produced by a drum group that sings in Navajo .

2 Bar J Singers Shawn Jim, left, and Roseanne Jim, both of Whiterock, sing for the dancers on Oct. 11, 2014, during the Fall Navajo Song & Dance at the Farmington Indian Center.
Miss Indian Farmington Shenoa Jones, left, and Leighton Grifftith, dance while the Mountain Valley Singers from Wheatfields, Ariz. sing on Oct. 11, 2014, during the Fall Navajo Song & Dance at the Farmington Indian Center.

Myra Newman, the center's division manager, said the "song and dance" shares a piece of Navajo culture with residents and visitors.
“It’s something to bring people to Farmington,” she said, adding that dancers dress in their finest traditional attire.
Newman said Farmington resident Larry Lewis will serve as the master of ceremonies and will bring a “new vibe” to the event, which is entering its ninth year.
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Lewis said he became involved in song and dance after hearing his uncle’s group, High Country Travelers, sing at a dance.
Lewis remembers hearing the group and wanting to join, which he eventually did.
He said he continues to participate in song and dance because it is a social activity and connects people.
“To this day, I like it,” Lewis said.
Among those who have generated interest for the song and dance is Farmington American Indian Ambassador Nicole Smith.
Smith said she will attend and looks forward to greeting the people.
She has participated in song and dance through school events and understands the significance of the gathering.
Smith said it is a time when the Navajo people can “come together and celebrate.”
Announcements about Saturday's event were also made during the song and dance at the Northern Navajo Nation Fair last week in Shiprock, Newman said.
In case of inclement weather, the song and dance will relocate to the Farmington Recreation Center, 1101 Fairgrounds Road.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-546-4636.


What: Fall Navajo Song and Dance
When: noon to 6 p.m., Saturday; Registration at 10 a.m.; Grand entry at noon
Where: Farmington Indian Center, 100 W. Elm St.
Cost: Free
More info. 505-327-6296