Festival celebrates contemporary Native culture

Native Now postcard

Over thousands of years, indigenous peoples carved their marks into the boulders of the Hedgpeth Hills, creating the largest concentration of Native American rock art in the Phoenix area.

On April 11, the site – considered culturally significant to several Arizona tribes – will be the scene for a festival celebrating contemporary Native culture in the state.

Native Now is a free, family-friendly event and longtime tradition of Arizona State University’s Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve, a 47-acre Sonoran Desert nature preserve that includes the Hedgpeth Hills, as well as a Will Bruder-designed museum.

The festival, which was rescheduled from February because of inclement weather, will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Performance will feature heavily at the event, with a wide range of styles on display:

• Musical highlights include Artificial Red, hip-hop duo Shining Soul with DJ Reflekshin, indie band Miracle Dolls, artist and composer Ryan Dennison and Soul Deluxe producer and host Byron Fenix.

• Morning Star Leaders Youth Council will offer games and crafts for children, as well as Navajo vocal and flute performances.

• A variety of art will be demonstrated and available for purchase.

• Guests can watch cooking demonstrations by Chef Harrison Watchman and sample his Diné-inspired foods and take part in a film screening and discussion by Outta Your Backpack Media, which seeks to empower Native youth through video storytelling.

For more information on Native Now or the Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve, call (623) 582-8007 or email Libby Gerold.

The preserve is part of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change’s Center for Archaeology and Society in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It is located at 3711 W. Deer Valley Road in Phoenix.