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Northern Navajo Fair Roars Back to Life

10/19/2022

After a two-year hiatus, the Northern Navajo Fair came roaring back to life. Considered one of the nation’s oldest and most traditional fair gatherings, it celebrates 109 years. Most of the events were back, including a carnival, rodeo, Indian Market, and the traditional song and dance “roll call”. This story is sponsored by Distil Beer Wine Spirits and Traegers Bar

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After a two-year hiatus, the Northern Navajo Fair came roaring back to life, making the Four Corners transition into the fall season. Considered to be the nation's oldest and most traditional fair gathering, the theme for this year's 109th Navajo Fair was Dine' history, harvest and healing. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Traegers and Distil beer, wine, spirits. I'm Hayley Opsal. Most of the events at the Navajo Fair were back including the carnival, rodeo, Indian market and their traditional song and dance shows. The traveling circus, City of Fun, provided all the amusement rides, games, and concession stands. On a Sunday morning, it was fairly quiet. The rodeo was much more popular. The fair opened with all the rodeo champions gathered in the arena for a very patriotic rendering of the national anthem sung in Navajo. An old-fashioned wild horse race as Western as the word itself was a thrill to watch.

I once said, Stop. Come on, now. One opened up. Hang on to Cheyenne. Hang on! Yeah! Fixing to go in between the barrel. Oh!

It was at the Navajo Market, where delicious food was found. Mutton and tortillas were grilled over freshly chopped cedarwood. We followed our nose around back.

Tortilla making. Then over here's the, uh the meat.

Juxtaposed to lots of colorful, handmade necklaces and earrings were many, many kinds of herbs for sale. The Navajo have an extensive knowledge of which plants and which parts of the selected plant are valuable for certain health problems and ceremonies. Jack Jones is not a medicine man, but he's close. Jones travels sometimes a thousand miles to find what he's looking for.

Sweet grass, cedar.

It's like a cedar?

Yeah. That's what they use it for, for blessings, for praying, for protections. A lot of different ways they use it. And that one they used it for, uh, it's the life way herbs. They use it for people that have kidney problems. Kidney failures and stuff like that. It's what they use it for.

Last but not least was the heti and traditional song and dance roll call. With the wind whipping up, cars were pulling out. We asked a young, articulate man, a photographer, to sum up this year's Northern Navajo Fair.

Everything was great. Everything was fine. I really enjoyed everything about it. The ceremony went well last night. This morning it was nice to see all these natives out here. In the past two years, we didn't get any of this. It's nice to see our people smiling. And our people enjoying this. So, That's that. That's what makes me happy.

Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Hayley Opsal.

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