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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


September 22, 2001 - Issue 45


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American Indian Tribes to Invoke Blessings at 2002 Games


 by Lori Buttars Salt Lake Tribune September 8, 2001

American Indians are hoping to highlight the differences between the nearly 400 tribes residing in North America for visitors at the 2002 Winter Games.

"The idea is to invoke blessings on the Games and give people an up-close-and-personal look at the religious traditions of our native people," says Cord Edrington, development director of the Native American 2002 Foundation, which is helping coordinate the involvement of American Indians in the Olympic proceedings next February.

A series of morning-prayer rituals, featuring a different tribe each day, will set the stage for the Olympic festivities. The prayer ceremonies will take place on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City each morning at sunrise for seven days leading up to February 8, the day the Games begin.

Once the Games are in progress, a group of 18 tribes will take turns welcoming competitors each morning at the Athlete's Village, during which a smoking pipe, or "symbol of peace" will be passed from tribal leaders to athlete representatives.

Each tribe will present its own ceremony in full ceremonial dress and according to its own traditions, Edrington says. Some of the tribes expected to participate include Ute, Shoshoni, Rosebud Sioux, Navajo, Paiute, Hopi, San Carlos Apache, Hualapai and Goshute.

"In Indian culture, the only time you hear songs without drums is in the morning," Edrington says. "Their drums were no good to them in the mornings because of the dew. While each ceremony will be different, they are meant to welcome and give thanks for the new day."

American Indians from across the country are coming to Utah during the Games to participate in Opening and Closing ceremonies and other events planned throughout the 2002 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

One of the featured attractions the Native American 2002 Foundation is planning is a teepee, rumored to be the largest in the world, as a performance pavilion at The Canyons Ski Resort in Summit County.

"We've invited representatives from the Guinness Book of World Records to come in hopes of breaking the world record, which is currently held by a white man, a doctor in Montana who owns one that is 60-feet tall," Edrington says.

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