Cover Story

Gene Juan and Garnett Gates, both military veterans, posted the colors to start the Gathering of the Gourds event in Lehi on October 15.

Gathering of the Gourds Keeps Culture Alive

By Jennifer Jimenez
Au-Authm Action News

The 12th annual spiritual Gathering of the Gourds took place October 15 at the Red Mountain Festival Grounds in Lehi from 10 a.m. until midnight. Free lunch was served to guests from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The gathering was filled with traditional singing and dancing, organized by Earl and Carolyn Stacey. Members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Fatherhood and Motherhood Mentor Programs volunteered during the event, and the Staceys said they were grateful to have those volunteers, who helped set up tables and chairs, serve food and assist in the clean-up.

“There were so many people who helped out and gave their time,” Earl said.
Several singers and dancers attended the gathering, which began with a song performed by Robert Ameelyaneh from Mohave, followed by the posting of the colors by Garnett Gates and Gene Juan. James from Peach Springs gave the blessing to start the ceremony and said he learned about the event while visiting a cultural center.

Earl said hosting this event is an effort to keep their culture alive; he said without culture, the people will not have this (Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community) reservation. People came and went throughout the entire 14-hour day, with several singers and dancers performing who were not on the original schedule.

“We had a Hopi elder lady come up and sing a couple of songs for us, and we enjoyed it,” Earl said. “We had a good crowd and everyone took part in something good. There is so much that goes into the event, and it was a great day.”

Carolyn said, “When you think about all the people who come to enjoy and fellowship, that’s when the healing comes in.

“The songs singers have and the words—it makes me feel very humble, and I get emotional because I really appreciate having groups come in and making time for us over here in Lehi,” she said.

Carolyn encouraged everyone to enjoy the day and take in the culture being shared throughout the entire event.

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