Apache Jii

Apache Crown dancers
Apache Crown dancers

Every Year he town of Globe, AZ hosts Apache Jii.

Jii is Apache for day. Dancers and musicians for the San Carlos rez demonstrate authentic dances in full costume.

The event begins with the children dancing. This is their practice for the real ceremonies and sacred dances.

The dances are in groups of four dances. The Apache ceremonies are done in fours, a sacred number signifying the four directions.  The Apache are very family oriented, teaching their children at a young age the rituals and ceremonies.

The Crown dancers are my favorite… for the sacred ceremonies they create their head wear, and use it one time. Then the head wear is buried. There will always be four Crown dancers, and one clown. The clown is painted white, and his job is to maintain order and chase away evil spirits.

The Redrum motorcycle club was in attendance. They are not 1%, and are not affiliated with any other club. Anyone is welcome to join, providing you agree to abide by their code. Their code is to do right by all people. Most of the members were from First Nations out of Phoenix, AZ. There was a Nomad from New York. Redrum members wear a patch that says 13 1/2. The number 13 1/2 to Natives signifies the court system… 12 jurors, one judge, and a half a chance. Members must live their lives in such a way as to avoid being caught up in the judicial system that they see as unfair.

The event hosted native artisans from many Nations; Apache and Navajo being the most prominent. I make it a goal to purchase at least one item from the artisans, it is a livelihood for most of them. I bought a coffee mug from a Navajo artist, Harrison Tom, from the Navajo rez up north. I also bought a tee shirt from an Apache couple from the valley that makes tee shirts out of their house in very limited quantities.

Authentic Indian fry bread was on sale in the food court.

Globe is a historic mining town. Copper is the main source of income for this area. Globe is a few miles outside of the San Carlos rez. The San Carlos welcome center boasts a sign that proclaims that, established in 1871, is the oldest concentration camp still in operation.

I met an older Apache gentleman who requested that I take his photograph. I am will mail him prints this week. He told me he wants to send one to Trump!

After the Crown Dancers, the public was invited to participate in the “Apache two-step”.  The drummers and singers set up in the center of the courts, and the dancers circled them. I did not dance, I was afraid I might fall in love with an Apache maiden!

After the event, we headed to the Drift Inn, a little dive bar with excellent Bloody Mary’s and awesome hamburgers.

All in all it was a fun day. I am now looking forward to the pow wow at Red Mountain that is coming up.




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