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Hozhoni Days marks its 49th year at Fort Lewis College

The 2013 Hozhoni Days Powwow begins March 29
The 2013 Hozhoni Days Powwow begins March 29

DURANGO, CO – For 49 years, Hozhoni Days (meaning Days of Beauty) has been one of Fort Lewis College’s premier events. The Native American-centered celebration runs throughout the month of March and includes pageantry, speakers and workshops, to name just a few events, all culminating with the Hozhoni Days Powwow.

The Hozhoni Days events officially kicked off with the introductions of this year’s Miss Hozhoni Pageant contestants on March 13. The Miss Hozhoni Pageant is a multi-day contest consisting of public speaking, traditional food presentations, and traditional and modern talent performances. The person holding the title of Miss Hozhoni is recognized for the following year as the ambassador of Wanbli Ota and the Fort Lewis College Native American community.

The pageant, which is free and open to the public, continues on Wednesday, March 20 with the Traditional Food Competition. The Traditional and Modern Talent portion of the pageant follows on Wednesday, March 27 before the winner is announced at the Hozhoni Days Powwow. Both events take place at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

The annual Hozhoni Days Powwow, one of FLC’s largest single events on campus, will be held at Whalen Gymnasium on Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30. Native American drummers and dancers from around the country will perform and compete for prizes.

Hozhoni Days dates back to 1966, when the Shalako Indian Club, an early incarnation of today's Wanbli Ota, turned a small on-campus event into a full-blown celebration and renamed the multi-day event Hozhoni Days. (Since the event that would become Hozhoni Days began in 1964, that year is considered the inaugural year for Hozhoni Days).

The early Hozhoni Days consisted of three days that featured a banquet, powwow, and basketball tournament. Over the years, the Hozhoni Days powwow became a contest powwow and grew. Today competitive powwow performers from across the United States come to dance on the Skyhawks’ gym floor.

The Shalako Indian Club’s named changed in 1970s to Wambidiota Club, eventually taking on its present moniker, Wanbli Ota -- meaning "many eagles" in the Lakota language -- in 1991. Wanbli Ota remains the primary sponsor of Hozhoni Days.

For more information and a schedule of events, visit the Hozhoni Days Powwow and Pageant website.

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