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Celebrating 10 Years of Scottsdale’s Native Trails

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It's the 10-year anniversary celebration for Native Trails, presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and produced by the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. They're showing their love with an extended season of 19 performances that include special appearances by Native American artisans and culinary offerings by local vendors. The free noontime festivals kick off Jan. 19 and run through April 14, 2012.

"Making it to the 10th season of Native Trails shows that there is a sincere interest in and appreciation for the art of Native American music and dance," said Derrick Suwaima Davis (Hopi/Choctaw), artistic director for Native Trails and five-time world-champion hoop dancer in a press release. "We have enjoyed sharing our rich heritage, which is a reflection of the unique geography of the beautiful Southwest, and look forward to seeing familiar faces and welcoming new guests in 2012."

Native Trails explores American Indian culture through "the art of song and dance and features traditional instruments, colorful dances, and customary attire that showcase the traditions of Southwestern tribes," as they state in the release. They're sponsored by the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. These bursts of culture are easy on the pocket, too. Free performances take place from 12 to 1:30 p.m. on most Thursdays and Saturdays at Scottsdale Civic Center Park. This is an incredible way to soak in Arizona's unique, diverse, and plentiful American Indian culture, with representatives from the Hopi, Dine, Akimel Au-Authm and San Carlos Apache tribes taking part. The fun isn't just in the watching—audience-participation is called for in the round dance, bringing everyone up off the feet and involved in the action.

American Indian artisans will be on site to make and sell items like flutes and paintings. Food, as always, will be a big part of the event, with local merchants selling fresh and packaged items that combine staple ingredients used by the Hopi, Pueblo, Navajo and Zuni tribes. Visitors will be able to leave with traditional bread, muffins and soup mixes indigenous to the Southwest. They'll also be able to taste culinary delights during a sunny winter picnic while watching performances.

This is a must-do event, and a great way to break out of the post-holiday blues and enjoy the new year.