The annual Southern Ute Bear Dance made its return in Ignacio from May 27 – May 30 at the Bear Dance grounds, gathering tribal members from the Southern Ute, Northern Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and community locals for a weekend of celebration.
The Southern Ute Bear dance is known to be a celebration of life.
The Southern Ute Bear Dance encourages every one of all ages to attend.
Ocean Hunter and Torrica Howe (front) share a dance together inside the Bear Dance corral.
The "Catman", Robert Baker, keeps the dancers in line as they stay in motion with their partner.
Deanna Frost stays in tempo with her dance partner.
The Southern Ute Bear Dance brings Ute people together who are proud of their culture.
The Southern Ute Bear Dance is known to be a woman's choice.
Tribal member Neda Chackee searches for a dance partner.
Lexy Young keeps in tempo with her partner at the annual Southern Ute Bear Dance.
Elco Garcia Jr. is ready to begin his next dance session.
"Catman", Bird Redd, gives a thumbs up inside the Bear Dance corral.
Odyssey Baker-Silva dancers with her partner.
Toph Pinnecoose (center) participates in a line dance with her fellow dancers.
Dancers of all ages are invited for the experience.
A young dancer flashes a smile as he stays in tempo with his partner.
Dancers line-up for another session as "Catman" Robert Baker directs them.
The Southern Ute Bear Dance is an event that brings tribal and non-tribal members together.
Dancers keep to the rhythm of the growlers.
Bear Dancers display their colorful regalia as part of tradition.
The Bear Dancer growlers, young and old, handle the duty of the music’s tempo.
The Southern Ute Bear Dance is a historical one that pre-dates over a hundred years.
Conrad Thompson dances in the Bear Dance.
Nate Hendren, Dewayne Hendren, and Elliot Hendren show off their colorful ribbon shirts at the Southern Ute Bear Dance.
The main dish of the Bear Dance feast consists of a large pot of stew cooked over an open flame.
Little Miss Southern Ute Krystyn Weaver serves watermelon to Bear Dance guests.
Tribal elder Georgia McKinley is served an entree of food at the Bear Dance feast.
Special Events Coordinator, Tara Vigil from the Southern Ute Cultural Center serves fry bread to a number of hungry Bear Dance guests.
Nate Hendren is served a slice of watermelon during the annual Bear Dance feast.
Matthew Box, Bear Dance Chief, welcomes all SUIMA students, parents, and Bear Dance participants to this year's Bear Dance on Friday, May 27.
Students from the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy opened up this year's Southern Ute Bear Dance on Friday, May 27.
Kaycee Jefferson smiles after her first dance in the Bear Dance corral for 2016.