SANTE FE, NM - The 19-year-old Mescalero
Apache dancer carved his drumstick from an oak tree the morning
before he used it while beating his drum and singing in a dance.
"It's not that nice," said Elwin
Pebeashey. "I was rushed."
The thin, pliable strip of oak was held
together by a loop on one end with green, yellow, red, white and
black pieces of thread.
Pebeashey hit the stick on a drum of gold
deer hide stretched around a gray pot held in place by large, black
The drummer and several other Mescalero
Apache School performing-arts students danced on a patio behind
the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum on Sunday afternoon.
Children and their parents streamed in and out of the museum where
weavers, ceramicists and other artists gathered at the third annual
Children's Day at the museum on Cathedral Street in Santa Fe.
About 13 dancers and singers stepped to
the beat of the drums in a social dance that celebrates homecoming
after a war, said Lula Martinez, performing-arts coordinator Mescalero
The hypnotic rhythm of the drums moved
3-year-old Francisco Santos Jr. to pull the green string of his
yellow balloon up and down to the beat as he stared, mesmerized
by the dancers.
Nearby, the boy's father, Francisco Santos
Sr., was tempted to step in.
"Go on," goaded his wife, Dolores
Santos. Self-consciousness seemed to hold him back, and he instead
recorded the event with a camcorder.
The family stood behind chairs where people
sat watching the dance, some hoping to be chosen to participate.
"They have to ask you to dance,"
the wife explained.
While the dancers formed a circle during
the honor song, a child lost his orange balloon. It floated into
the cloudless blue sky.
In front of the museum, 10 pieces of yarn
about 100 feet long had been stretched around the wooden pillars
of the museum's portico. Children sat in front of the rainbow-colored
yarn, looping beads onto it with needles.
"It teaches patience," said
Tammy Rahr, a beader who has organized similar events in Santa Fe
before. They were creating the world's longest beaded serpent, said
interim museum director Chuck Dailey. It will be added to other
beaded snakes made around the country.
"I got bored," said 8-year-old
Caya Garcia, standing next to her sisters Laura and Imelda, who
sat with cardboard boxes of beads on their laps that they added
to the serpent.
Their brother, Jorge Garcia, 7, was trying
to entertain himself nearby by climbing a metal fence in front of
"Get down, you're gonna fall,"
commanded 14-year-old Imelda Garcia.
After Jorge climbed down the fence, he
began to rub his fingers along the yarn where his sisters were beading.
"Stop moving it now, please," Imelda said.
Jorge had a black bear claw painted on
the side of his face. During face painting inside, "My mom
chose it (the bear claw)," he said. "I would have chosen
a Chinese dragon, but they didn't have it."