The Koshare Dancers have today announced the cancellation of their 2015 Winter Night Dances, which were scheduled to begin on December 19.
"The Koshares received a formal request, late last week, from the Cultural Preservation Office of the Hopi Nation asking that the troop discontinue their interpretation of the dances of the Hopi and Pueblo Native Americans", the Board of Directors of the Koshare Indian Museum, Inc., the sponsor of the Koshare Dancers, said.
"The public performances of the dances were cancelled for this year out of respect for our Native American friends and until there has been an opportunity to discuss the Hopiís concerns in a timely manner", the Board said.
"Since 1950 the beat of the drum, the aroma of pinion and the respect for Southwestern Indian culture have played an important part of the Christmas season in Southeastern Colorado as the Koshares have presented the Winter Dances", the Board said, "but not for this year."
Given the short time before the first performance, and noting the concerns expressed by the Hopi Nation, the Board decided that it would be most prudent and would preserve the good relations it has with the Native American community to cancel the performances for this year.
The performances began in 1950 and have been presented yearly to the public by the troop, formed in 1933, most of whom are also in the Boy Scout program, and who have become renowned for American Indian interpretative dancing. The performances have been traditionally presented during the Christmas Season at the Koshare Indian Museum which was built over the years by the group in La Junta, Colorado, and which houses their extensive collection of Native American arts and Southwestern art.
"The performances have always presented the dances, religion and ceremonies of the Native Americans with the utmost respect for their solemnity, dignity and cultural significance, and it is anticipated that any misunderstandings by Native Americans which may have arisen will be discussed, explained and resolved in the near future", the Board said.