Bear Dance in full swing for spring

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The Bear Dance corral was filled with dancers and music again this spring, ushering in the new year in a good way; dancers from all three Ute tribes and across Indian Country made their way to Ignacio, Colo for the spring celebration.
Johanna J. Cuch, Ute Bear dancer from Ft. Duchesne, Utah
Terry Knight Jr., Ute Mountain Ute Bear Dance singer from Towaoc, Colo.
Matthew Box, Southern Ute Bear Dance Chief, Ignacio Colo.
Southern Ute tribal member, De’Vra Richards (center) attends the opening of the Southern Ute Bear Dance with her Montessori peers, Friday, May 27. Students from the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy opened up the first dance of the weekend, per tradition, at the Southern Ute's spring celebration in Ignacio.
Strong winds did not deter dancers during the annual Bear Dance. Friends and relatives gathered to celebrate spring and dance, welcoming the cultural and social aspects of this Ute tradition.
Miali Snowpeach carries her son in a traditional cradleboard, youth are encouraged to start participating as soon as they are old enough to line dance.
Kenney Frost keeps a sharp eye on dancers following a special honoring for the late Neil Cloud, which took place on Monday, May 30, during the Bear Dance. Cloud was recognized for his decades of commitment to the Bear Dance where he served in the role of “Catman” for over 40 years, the Catman plays a vital role in helping to police dancers and make sure proper etiquette is adhered too throughout the Bear Dance.
Edward Box III, Southern Ute Bear Dance Catman, Ignacio, Colo.
Lilja Johnson, Bear Dancer from Bayfield, Colo.
Bird Red, Southern Ute Bear Dance singer from Ignacio, Colo.
Southern Ute Bear Dance Chief, Matthew Box welcomes dancers to the corral for the Ute's spring celebration in Ignacio, Colo.
The Southern Ute Indian Montessori students get the first dance of the year, Friday, May 27.
Young dancers line dance with their peers, dancing with relatives is prohibited in the Bear Dance.
A Bear Dance scarf catches the wind, as the Bear Dance comes to a close Sunday evening.
Hunter Frost, Southern Ute Bear Dance Singer. Ignacio, Colo.
Samantha Maez, Southern Ute Bear Dancer. Ignacio, Colo.
Rudley Weaver, Southern Ute Bear Dancer, elder. Mancos, Colo.
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum
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The Southern Ute Bear Dance kicked off the Memorial Day weekend in Ignacio, Colo. following a blessing by Bear Dance Chief Matthew Box, Friday, May 27. Students from the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy graced the Bear Dance corral for the opening dance. Box reminded dancers and participants to respect the protocols, and leave negative thoughts, feelings behind — to honor the Ute celebration in a good way and welcome the new year. The Bear Dance lasted four days, concluding on Monday evening following the cultural feast. 

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