Kicking up dust in Fort Duchesne

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Ute relatives and friends gathered together in celebration of spring during this year’s Northern Ute Bear Dance held in Fort Duchesne, Utah. This year’s event was held Friday, May 13 through Monday, May 16. A Bear Dancer from the Ute Indian Tribe, Gavyn Vanderhoop, adjusts her hat, attempting to shade herself from the sun rays; temperatures reached the upper 80’s throughout the weekend.
Bear Dance Chief Reffel Kanip shares a laugh with singers.
Young dancer joins the adult dancers in line dancing, many learn how to Bear Dance from a young age and are encouraged to continue participating as they grow older.
Kelcie Whammers, like most dancers, dons her best accessories throughout the entirety of Bear Dance. Many people wear bright colors and jewelry during the Bear Dance to usher in the spring.
Per request, women dancers lined the Bear Dance corral to honor veterans participating in the “Flag Lowering” ceremony before the conclusion of the Northern Ute Bear Dance and the “Last Song.”
Visitors come from near and far to take part of the annual Bear Dance celebrations each spring within the Ute Nations of Utah and Colorado.
Young lady dancers join hands and await to dance the “line dance,” moving back and forth in sync with fellow dancers throughout the duration of each song. Line dancing will occur until Bear Dance Chiefs and the Catman allow individuals to split from the line with their chosen partner, usually occurring on the third day of Bear Dance.
Ignacio Bear Dance singers Cesar Corona, Dustin Teague, Jake Ryder, Tim Ryder, and Bird Red take their turn at the growler box in Ft. Duchesne.
Divine Windy Boy | SU Drum
Divine Windy Boy | SU Drum
Divine Windy Boy | SU Drum
Divine Windy Boy | SU Drum
Divine Windy Boy | SU Drum
Divine Windy Boy | SU Drum
Divine Windy Boy | SU Drum
Divine Windy Boy | SU Drum
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The Ute Indian Tribe (Ouray & Uintah) welcomed visitors from their Ute sister tribes and surrounding areas to enjoy this year’s Northern Ute Bear Dance held in Fort Duchesne, Utah. This year’s event was held Friday, May 13 through Monday, May 16. The four-day cultural celebration ended with a friendly competition between dancers and singers, lasting one and a half hours, resulting in a win for the dancers. Bear Dance season continues with the upcoming Whiterocks, Ignacio, Towaoc, and White Mesa Bear Dances.  

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