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Community Social Gathering in Lehi

This picture was taken with a Ricoh Theta, a 360-degree camera. The picture was edited with a “tiny planet” effect. This shows it in a rounded shape, which is a picture in the center of the Lehi Gathering Area and the Piipaash dancers at the right of the picture.

On October 28, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community held its first Community Social at the Lehi Gathering Area. The purpose of this event was to bring everyone together to enjoy Piipaash traditional singing and dancing and raise the funds for the main event for next year’s Piipaash Matasheevm (People’s Gathering) in April 2018.

The weather was sunny and cool on this Saturday morning at the Lehi Gathering Area. As guests started to arrive, they found plenty of vendor booths set up offering Native American artwork, T-shirts, arts and crafts, and food. As the event began, everyone sat around the arena to hear SRPMIC Council member Michael Dallas, Sr. say the blessing for the food. Shortly after that, everyone began to line up for the hot dogs and hamburgers being served.

These Lehi gatherings started as the “Gathering of the Gourds,” founded by Earl and the late Caroline Stacey in 1997. The gathering had been an annual event in Lehi for 13 years, until it stopped 2010.

A group of Lehi elders restarted the gathering in 2014, calling it the Piipaash Matasheevm. A few of the elders responsible for bringing the gathering back to Lehi are Bob Aguilar, Rick Nelson, Ronni Mack, Alvin Lewis, Garnet Gates, Eddie Vest and Meldon Fulwilder. The committee would also like to acknowledge the Fulwilder/Stacey family for working with the Community to ensure the gathering site would have land to continue these traditional events and functions.

“The Community Social is the first event for the people from the Community to come together and enjoy socializing, singing and dancing,” said Elaina Osife, a supporter/coordinator of the Piipaash Matasheevm Committee. “The purpose of the Piipaash Matasheevm is to bring our Community together, including [those] from our sister tribes and other tribes from across the country, to unify everyone.”

The sentiment at the social was to help teach the younger generations about the Piipaash traditions and where they come from.

As the afternoon carried on and when everyone had enough to eat, many Community members sat around the dance floor to listen to the songs performed by the Singing by the River group, Lynnwood Vest. As the singing began in the center of the area, women and girls began dancing to the gourd songs, which carried on for the rest of the afternoon.

The Piipaash Matasheevm Committee sponsored the Community Social. If you would like to learn how to volunteer or stay posted on upcoming events by supporting the Piipaash Matasheevm Committee, please contact Ardell Moore or Emily King at (480) 362-7469, (480) 362-2626, or piipaashmatasheevmlehi@gmail.com.

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