Last Dance at the Council Tree Powwow.







Photographs Jeremy Wade Shockley/SU DRUM

A storm on the horizon. Golden light filters into the arena.

Dancers prepare their regalia.

This was to be the final dance at the Council Tree Powwow. Held in Delta, Colorado the Council Tree Powwow takes place each fall in an arbor prepared for this event, not directly under but very near the ancient council tree itself; an esteemed cottonwood of Ute legend and historical significance.

The perfect evening gave way to darkening thunderheads and a torrential downpour. Lightening filled the sky as dancers and spectators alike fled the dance arena, seeking shelter and warmth.

As I drove home the following day; criss-crossing the Weminuche Wilderness, the highest peaks now blanketed by fresh snow, I felt a sadness in having witnessed the last of something so beautiful. In my heart I hoped that it would continue. A year rolls over, and autumn has now past us by. The arena lies empty.

Editorial coverage from the Southern Ute Drum newspaper.

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