The Palm Springs High School courtyard on Saturday was filled with the sounds of birdsong, Native American vendor stalls and the smell of food during Kewet Native American Learning Day and Market presented by the Agua Caliente Band of the Cahuilla Indians.
The fourth annual Kewet, which is a Cahuilla word for “fiesta,” featured 72 booths celebrating Native American culture. Tribe President Reid Milanovich said the event was important to him and all tribe members as it provides an opportunity to share their culture with the community and discuss other tribes, such than the Navajos.
“There’s a lot of similarities not only in the beadwork and basketry, but also in some of the designs and all of these different things that we’re able to create. The ability to bring them in and give them the opportunity to sharing their culture too is just as important,” Milanovich said.
Kevin Jensen, a member of the Navajo tribe, had several bead medallions, keychains, necklaces and other items for sale, including turquoise silver rings. Some of these items have sold for as little as $45.
Jensen, from the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, said many Navajo art forms such as beadwork, silverware and turquoise jewelry have been counterfeited by manufacturers in Turkey, China and in other countries. He said it is important to show the connection of the tribe with such objects.
“The art form of beadwork comes from our culture and traditions,” Jensen said. “Before all of this was introduced to our community, we had many of our traditional stones and seeds, like juniper berries. Our art forms have been around for centuries and[theSaturdayMarketisanewwayofidentifyingourselvesandembracingourculturewherewecomefromandhowwearerepresented”[Saturday’smarketisanewwayofidentifyingourselvesandembracingourculturewherewe’recomingfromandhowwe’rerepresented”[lemarchédusamediestunenouvellefaçondenousidentifieretd’embrassernotrecultured’oùnousvenonsetcommentnoussommesreprésentés”[Saturday’smarket isanewwayofidentifyingourselvesandembracingourculturewherewe’recomingfromandhowwe’rerepresented”
In early 2023, local residents and tourists will be able to visit the 10,000 square foot Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in downtown Palm Springs, which Milanovich described as “one of the most important projects this tribe will ever build. “.
“We’re going to be able to educate the whole community about who we are as a people and we’re going to be sharing our culture through our own voice,” Milanovich said. “There are a lot of museums, books and information that talk about the Cahuilla people, but it’s often not told by the Cahuilla people. It’s very important.”
Desert Sun reporter Brian Blueskye covers arts and entertainment. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @bblueskye.