Native Traditions & Themes Headline Four-Day Event at the Desert Museum

The Celebration of Basketry and Native Foods Festival and Symposium offers an insider's look into the rich heritage and promising future of the native peoples of the Sonoran Desert. Partnering with Tohono O'odham Community Action (TOCA), the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum presents an immersive experience in the time-honored techniques of basket-weaving, cooking, language, arts and performance.

​​​The Celebration of Basketry and Native Foods Festival and Symposium offers an insider’s look into the rich heritage and promising future of the native peoples of the Sonoran Desert. Partnering with Tohono O’odham Community Action (TOCA), the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum presents an immersive experience in the time-honored techniques of basket-weaving, cooking, language, arts and performance.  The Symposium, open to the public for the first time, is Thursday and Friday, November 12 and 13, from 10am – 4pm. The Symposium is followed by the Weekend Festival & Marketplace on Saturday and Sunday, November 14  & 15, from 9am – 4pm.

SYMPOSIUM

Led by indigenous experts, the Symposium’s educational workshops are primarily focused on native food preparation and basketry. Learn about indigenous cuisine and the history of native foods as well as their healing properties. Then taste these native foods at samplings offered throughout the event.

Basketry sessions include preserving the art of basketry and the influence of traditional basketry design on contemporary art.

The Symposium is open to the public for the first time. Registration is required. Register for both days of the Symposium and receive a free pass to one of the two Festival days that follow the Symposium. Admission is $100 per day and $85 per day for Desert Museum members.

FESTIVAL

Museum guests can enjoy all the museum has to offer and browse the Marketplace during the Festival, Nov. 14 & 15, which is free with regular museum admission. Festival activities include chef presentations featuring contemporary uses of traditional native ingredients, exploring the progression between antique and contemporary basketry, indigenous food sampling including roasted salmon and Hopi Piki bread, the Marketplace which features authentic native baskets for sale, and cultural performance by native dancers.

Contemporary chef demonstrations show you how to integrate traditional indigenous foods into your everyday cooking. Among the celebrities cooking at the event is Loretta Barret Oden, the host of the Emmy award-winning PBS series, “Seasoned with Spirit.” Oden uses native ingredients to create recipes with modern appeal.

Another contemporary chef, Lois Ellen Frank, wrote the first Native American recipe book to win the James Beard Award in the Americana category. She spent more than 25 years researching and documenting Native American food and tradition the book, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations.

The delicious smells of native food being prepared for sampling will have you ready to taste them! Traditional native foods offered throughout the event include roasted salmon, Hopi parched corn and Hopi Piki bread.

An excellent opportunity to begin your gift shopping is the Open Marketplace. Marvel at the artistry of basket weavers as you examine antique baskets, then visit modern artists who grew up weaving baskets and took that influence to a new level in contemporary art. Shop for baskets and handicrafts made by native peoples for very special and authentic southwestern gifts.

While you enjoy the museum, consider a different perspective on the Sonoran Desert with a museum tour from the Tohono O'odham. Explore and discover the plants and animals of our region with a difference eye and you’ll come away with a new-found appreciation of the area.

As traditional as basket weaving and cooking is the culture and art of native peoples. In a powerful display of ceremony and custom, the Apache Crown Dancers will perform cultural dances such as the Hoop Dance, the Apache social dance, the Apache warrior dance, and the Apache Crown Dance.

Participation in the Symposium is by preregistration only and is $100 per day for the public and $85 for Desert Museum Members. The Festival is free with regular museum admission. For more information, check the website at http://www.desertmuseum.org/visit/basketry/festival.php.

Focused on the Sonoran Desert region of the United States and Mexico, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is largely an outdoor experience and includes a zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum and aquarium. Set on 98 acres, the Museum is home to 230 animal species, 56,000 individual plant specimens, two miles of walking paths and one of the world’s most comprehensive regional mineral collections. The Desert Museum is actively involved in education, conservation, and research programs to help preserve the Sonoran Desert region.

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Tags: cuisine, dancers, Desert Museum, event, indigenous, native american, traditional


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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a fusion experience: zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium.

Betsy D. Warner
Director of Marketing & Sales, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
2021 N Kinney Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85743-8918
United States