'The circle of this event is completed': Thunder in the Desert powwow is no more
PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - It allowed everyone to witness, appreciate and take part in the history, beauty and awe of Native American cultures. Now, organizers say the life of “Thunder in the Desert” is complete.
The event -- held every four years around New Year’s -- brought together hundreds of tribes from across the country and around the globe, helping preserve their cultures. Over the years, thousands of spectators also gathered at Rillito Park outside Tucson for the powwow.
“They shared their songs, their dances, their food, their crafts, their stories,” explained organizer Fred Synder of the National Native American Cooperative.
Synder said the teepee poles will now stay in storage and the drums will remain silent.
“Indian people believe in the circle of things,” the self-described 'urban Indian' said. “The circle of this event is completed. “
“Traditionally, everything needs to be done in a set of four,” Synder explained. “There's four directions, four elements that make up the world, four races of people and four seasons. It's a Sacred Four to Indian people.”
Following the Sacred Four, Thunder in the Desert started in 2000 and continued every four years for four years in total. The last one was this past New Year's. See pictures KGUN9's Guy Atchley snapped
at that event.
“If I did it one more time, I'd have to do it four times,” he said, adding there just aren't the volunteers, donations and community support and his health won't let him commit to another dozen years.
The celebration is now a memory.
KGUN9 reporter Kevin Keen asked Synder, “What was your favorite part of the celebrations? Your favorite memory?” “My favorite memory of the celebrations is when people on the last day were sitting in the bleachers, crying and saying, 'I've never ever been any place that has been more beautiful, more connected and I don't want to leave this place.'”
“Everything has a limit,” Synder said. “Everything has its time.”
The National Native American Cooperative will remain active. Native American artists and crafters will be at next year's Gem and Mineral Show in Tucson.