Scottsdale hosts one of the few opportunities to see Native Americans perform traditional dances and songs in the Valley—and you can watch for free!
Now in its 13th year, Native Trails runs from January through March 31, 2016, and brings performers from various tribes to Scottsdale to celebrate the culture of the Hopi, Diné (Navajo), Akimel Au-Authm, San Carlos Apache, and other Native American groups from the Southwest.
During the event, you’ll hear traditional instruments, see authentic costumes, and even be encouraged to participate in the friendship dance. Popular numbers include the Southwest horse dance, inter-tribal pow-wow dancing, and world class hoop dancing.
Native Trails is presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and produced by the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts the event on the outdoor fountain stage of the center’s north side. Because it is outdoors, make sure you check the weather before heading out to the event. Native Trails is sometimes cancelled due to rain (call 480-421-1004 to confirm before going), and on warm days, you’ll want to arrive early for a shady spot under a tree or remember to bring your own umbrella.
You’ll also want to keep seating in mind before you go. No seats are available in the grassy area in front of the stage, so bring folding chairs or a blanket. Limited seating is available around the perimeter of the amphitheater area, or you can also watch as you enjoy lunch on the patio of nearby AZ88.
In addition to the performances, Native Trails also features Native American artisans selling jewelry, baskets, flutes, paintings, and other craft items, as well as light snacks, including fry bread, and beverages.
On average, 250 to 300 people attend Native Trails, but that number can spike to as many as 400 during Cactus League play. Even during the peak times, though, parking is generally not an issue. You can find free parking at several parking lots in the area, but the closest one is off 2nd Street on Wells Fargo Avenue. Park on the north side of the lot and walk between Pepin and AZ88 to get to the performance area. If you are taking the Scottsdale trolley, use the Downtown Route and get off at Brown Avenue.
As a general rule, Native Trails is held on Thursdays and Saturdays, although it’s not every Thursday or Saturday. Exact dates for 2016 are: January 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30, February 11, 18, 20, 25, 27, March 3, 24, 26, and 31. The event begins at 12 pm and usually ends at 1 pm. Admission is free.
For more information call 480-421-1004 or 800-782-1117.