The Southern Ute Drum Newspaper: Interactive website debut!

Photographs Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum. All Rights Reserved.

Visit the Southern Ute Drum’s new website at SUDRUM.com

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Lens on Mesa Verde National Park.

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2012.
 Photographer Mike Kircher and I stand for a portrait at Mesa Verde National Park. 

NatGeo Puts Four Corners on the Map.

Photograph Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum



By Rachel Shockley
Special to the Drum
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Cultural Dancers joined the National Geographic Society and partners from the Four Corners on Saturday, June 2 to invite tourists to experience the local history, culture and wilderness.
National Geographic has named the Four Corners area a “geotourism destination” and launched an interactive website and map to promote its many natural attractions. The launch of the Four Corners Region Geotourism MapGuide at Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec, N.M., drew dignitaries and visitors from all over to tour the ruins and enjoy cultural dancing with help from Ignacio-based drum group 12 Gauge.
Approximately 65 million “geotourists” from around the world are looking for experiential vacations where they can rub shoulders with the locals, according to National Geographic. The new map provides more than 800 suggestions, recommended by locals.
Geotourism MapGuides Coordinator Jim Dion said he hopes the map will answer the question: “What can people do here in this place that they can do no place else?”
“Travelers are risk averse,” he said. “By indexing sites and introducing people to these sites before they commit, we can inspire people to go to places they wouldn’t normally go.”
By attending local events, visiting local places and patronizing local businesses, geotourists will get a glimpse of what life is like here in the Four Corners — and National Geographic is betting they’re going to like it. The locals might, too: Statistically geotourists spend more money, stay longer, and care more about the culture and environment of the places they visit.
Members of the Southern Ute Royalty led the procession of Cultural Dancers during a grand entry exhibition at the ruins. Women, followed by the men, showcased several styles of dancing and regalia for the crowd. The Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum also manned a booth to answer questions and promote Ute culture and heritage.
Aztec Fiesta Days
The Cultural Dancers also performed at Minium Park for the annual Aztec Fiesta Days later that day. Crowds of locals and visitors cheered on the 18 dancers as they exhibited the beauty and athleticism of traditional Native American dance. They finished the events with a round dance, inviting spectators to experience a little Ute culture for themselves by joining in.
“I love dancing,” said Cultural Dancer and Southern Ute tribal member Greg Bison after the round dance. “It’s my tradition. I dance for my family and my people, and for people who aren’t able to dance.”
Regarding how many people he has taught to dance, he said simply, “I’ve lost count.”
Making of the map
The Four Corners Region Geotourism MapGuide is a culmination of two years of collaboration between tribes, governments, businesses and locals. All 800-plus sights were recommended by locals and reviewed by National Geographic Maps and the Four Corners Region Geotourism Stewardship Council.
Print maps can be purchased for $11.95 and show 100 of the total sites, broken into four categories: archeology; outdoor recreation; water and geology; and art, music, and culture. Captions and information on select sites make it easy to find events or places that are interesting to visit.
All the sites can be explored in detail online at http://www.fourcornersgeoturism.com. Here locals can also make recommendations to add to the map over time.
Places and events on the map include the Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum, the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area, the Ute Mountain Roundup Rodeo, and Ute Mountain Tribal Park.

Traditions live on in Buffalo Harvest.

Photograph Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum

By Jeremy Wade Shockley

The Southern Ute Drum

A young bison was blessed and harvested under the traditional guidance of the Fort Lewis Buffalo Council on Saturday, March 17, as part of an annual three-day ceremony.

The spirit of the harvest is to promote food sovereignty and education under the guidance of the Buffalo Council and participating tribal elders.

“It really strengthens us as students,” said Amoretta Pringle, president of the Buffalo Council.

The three-day ceremony included a sweat lodge, prayer, bison harvest, and distribution of medicine, finishing in Durango on Sunday with a presentation by longtime Native American activist Russell Means, who voiced the importance of truth and sovereignty to his audience.

This year’s ceremony coincides with the 100th year anniversary of Fort Lewis College, according to organizers.

In recent years, the Buffalo Harvest has taken place at the site of the historic Fort Lewis Indian School near Hesperus, Colo. This year, the event moved to a neighboring ranch house owned and operated by Bill and Virginia Crangle. The Crangles have made Hesperus their home since 1974, and have hosted the Buffalo Council on numerous occasions, giving them a place to perform the ceremonies.

Manuelito “Chief” Garbiso is one of the more recent members to the council and a Fort Lewis alumnus.

“Basically everything goes back to the community,” he said, explaining that the meat will be parceled out to families who qualify, and whatever remains will be used for fundraising events, cooking the bison meat to benefit the community.

The young bison was trucked in from Oklahoma. Raised on a ranch, he was culled from a herd numbering in the hundreds. Michael Mithlo, owner of the company Mighty Good Bison, has delivered a buffalo to the council for the traditional harvest on numerous occasions.

Mithlo, a pragmatic and knowledgeable man with a clear understanding of the butchering process, is of the Comanche and Chiricahue Apache nations. He said it’s good to keep a few bulls in together and let them fight, because it helps build testosterone. He also noted that thick meat on the ribs is a sign of a healthy animal with strong genes.

Nathan Strong Elk was one of a handful of Southern Utes who attended the annual harvest, offering a blessing over the animal once it arrived. Strong Elk emphasized the importance of calming the animal to prepare it for harvest after such a long journey.

The sound of drums could be heard around the early morning campfires, mingling with the smell of burning cedar in the air and the singing of the young participants who would soon harvest the buffalo.

A pair of gunshots broke the still morning silence. Members of the Buffalo Council and their helpers began to cut and clean the great bison, heaving his mass onto tarps.

While the men used knives and tools to section the meat, women worked in teams to separate the vital organs and entrails, each with its own place and purpose, its own destination. Practical efficiency was evident in the collaborative process.

Neighboring dogs became less shy, stealing away with the occasional discard. The winter sun began to warm the ground as expert hands worked in traditional ways.

Rodeo.

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2012.

A subject that has intrigued me from an early age. My western roots, combined with the dust and leather of these particularly nostalgic events…cowboy culture to the core.
I have seen many and even photographed a few western rodeos in my day. Bulls, broncs, and even mutton bustin‘ make for action packed images..literally packed into a few seconds once they open the gates.
Like any event that I cover, the bulk of my attention is focused on the lifestyle surrounding that event, the fringes if you like. A few years back, I used my press pass at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial to spend a few hours covering the Dine ‘Navajo’ Rodeo. Shooting the fringes here was no exception. Using a short lens and plenty of personal interaction, I was able to shoot the bull riders as they prepared for their eight second ride, both mentally and physically.
More rodeos are in my future as I continue to document the American West…camera in hand.
Keep checkin‘ in. Best, Jeremy

Celebrating The Denver March Powwow.








Photographs Jeremy Wade Shockley/The Southern Ute Drum
Vist The Southern Ute Drum online to view full coverage of the 37th Annual Denver March Powwow held each spring in the Mile High City!
Enjoy the images…Cheers, Jeremy