A large crowd attended the pre-rodeo Native American ceremonial
blessing of the National High School Finals Rodeo arenas Monday
at McGee Park.
blessings were performed by Clinton Jim, a member of the Diné
College Board of Regents.
blessings performed were to honor mother earth, father sky and the
air that is all around. Jim and students from Navajo Prep also performed
a "Travelers Song" to commemorate all the families and
contestants who came from many distances to compete in the rodeo.
the ceremony Jim's children, Yolanda Nez, Winston Jim and William
Jim blessed the four cardinal points of the arena using corn pollen.
members included families from near and far, who experienced the
traditional Native American ceremony for the first time.
think it's really nice they do something like that before the rodeo,"
said Lynda Bulani from Saskatchewan, Canada. "I would hope
it has some meaning to some of these kids."
said the blessing was good for the high school contestants, who
must remember to respect one another.
all here as humans and we've got to get along," he said.
ceremony also called to the Native American spiritual leaders to
tell them a large gathering was taking place at McGee Park, and
that is from where the prayers were coming.
also called for the rain which so many people had been receiving
on the East Coast.
audience members appreciated the reverence out-of-town spectators
displayed during the blessings.
was really surprised people waited until they left the grounds to
sit back down and put their hats on," said Stephanie Benally
and her family arrived at McGee Park early so they could witness
the traditional blessing.
we came last year we hadn't heard about the (blessing) and this
year we knew about it and made sure to come and watch," Benally
said the blessings were to demonstrate the Diné push to keep
their culture and traditions alive.
thing about this rodeo here, it seems like the city (of Farmington)
has invited more people to be involved," Jim said.
of the Jicarilla Apache and Southern Ute tribes also took part in
the early morning ceremony.
said he arrived at the arenas at 6:30 a.m. to begin the ceremony.
The actual blessing began at 8:30 a.m. and included a brief explanation
of the Diné culture.
said students will also sing the United States National Anthem in
the Diné language during Friday's evening rodeo opening.