Southern Ute Bear Dance, Sun Dance and Pow Wows

Bailey here again – 

I promised to write about the Southern Ute festivals, and I always honor my promises. 

The Bear Dance 

The Bear Dance, held in the spring, is the oldest and most historic of the Southern Ute dances. Legend has it that two brothers were hunting when one of them noticed a bear doing a dance while scratching a tree. The bear taught the hunter the dance, along with songs, to take back to his people. The songs showed respect to the bear spirit, and respect to the bear spirit makes one strong. 

The Bear Dance is still celebrated today with a dance corral, drums and singing, festive costumes and good food. The women wear colorful broom skirts and shawls, many of which are homemade especially for the dance. It’s women’s choice, so the women ask the men to dance by flicking their shawls toward the men they wish to dance with. It’s a no risk proposition, since it’s against the rules for a man in the dance corral to refuse an invitation. 

Another tradition is to wear plumes during the dance. The plumes represent troubles or hardships endured over the last year. The plumes are left at the entrance of the dance corral when the dance ends to signify leaving old troubles behind and starting life anew. 

The Sun Dance

The Sun Dance, held in the middle of the summer, is the most important and sacred spiritual ceremony in the Ute tradition. The Sun Dance has two major aspects to it, the personal and the communal.

Each dancer, traditionally male, receives a command through a dream that compels him to participate in the dance. At the visible level, he goes through a rigorous fast and dances inside the Sun Dance lodge. At the spiritual level, the dancer goes through purification and attempts communion with the Great Spirit. The dancer goes through the pains and rigors of the spiritual quest alone, but he is also part of a family. And his family is there, outside of the Sun Dance lodge, to support him by singing, drumming or praying for him. 

The Sun Dance brings spiritual rejuvenation to the entire Ute community and reinforces the common spiritual power which has traditionally bound them together.

The Pow Wow

The Southern Ute Pow Wows are gatherings held throughout the year where both Native and non-Native people gather to meet, dance, sing and honor Native American culture. They are a time for Southern Ute Tribal members, and members of other Tribes throughout the country, to get together and showcase their many talents.

The Pow Wows feature dance and drum contests, often with thousands of dollars in prize money.

Here is a list of the Durango Area Pow Wows:

  • March  – Hozhoni Days Pow Wow
  • June – Sky Ute Casino Pow wow
  • September – Southern Ute Fair Pow Wow

Next time I’ll you about the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum, the Sky Ute Casino, and the Southern Ute Drum.

Southern Ute Tribe

The Southern Ute Indians

Bailey here – 

So you know I live in Durango, Colorado, but I bet you didn’t know that the Southern Ute Indians are the oldest continuous residents of Colorado and the Durango area. Long ago, the Southern Utes were hunter/gatherers and exceptional artists.

They made gorgeous pipe bags and horse bags beaded with beautiful sacred symbols. And they shaved amazing pictures into animal hides to decorate personal and ceremonial dwellings. The Southern Ute headquarters is now located in Ignacio, Colorado – about 25 miles from Durango – on the Southern Ute Reservation. 

One of the things I love about the Southern Ute Tribe is that they still hold traditional ceremonies and festivals – like the Bear Dance, the Sun Dance, and the Pow Wow. And I hope they always do. I love watching the Native dancers, and hearing the drums and the singers. I love the old ways, the old language and the traditions. They’re so beautiful. 

The thing I love about different cultures is, well, they’re different. I don’t want everybody to be the same. How boring. For instance, I for one would love it if all Native guys still wore their hair the traditional way – long. Come on, girls love that. So, Native guys, grow your hair! Wear it flowing over your shoulders, back in a band, or in traditional braids – I’m not picky. I just love long, dark hair. 

For me, Durango wouldn’t be the same without the Native influences. Nor would it have its rich and colorful history. Next time I’ll talk about the Southern Ute Bear Dance, Sun Dance and the Pow Wow.

In the mean time, feel free to check out the outstanding Southern Ute website at:

Taylor Swift

Bailey here again –

I’m all over the map when it comes to music. But there’s so much great stuff out there – why would I limit myself? I don’t care what anyone else thinks. No matter who it is, or what type of music it is, I listen to whatever I like. And I love Taylor Swift.

Yes, she’s young, and some people think it isn’t cool to like her anymore. But I think she’s an incredibly talented singer/songwriter. This always amazes me. I can understand being able to sing. And I can understand being able to write lyrics. But to be able to do both – well – always astounds me. AND Taylor plays the guitar, while she’s singing the lyrics she wrote. What an amazing amount of talent for one person to possess.

At age 14, Taylor was the youngest staff songwriter of the Sony/ATV Tree Publishing House. And at age 15, she was signed by Big Machine Records. Taylor’s albums are:

  • Taylor Swift (2006)
  • Fearless (2008)
  • Speak Now (2010)

One of my favorite Taylor songs is Breathe from the album, Fearless. Have you ever felt this way before?

  • And we know it’s never simple, never easy
  • Never a clean break, no one there to save me
  • You’re the only thing I know like the back of my hand
  • And I can’t breathe
  • Without you, but I have to
  • Breathe
  • Without you, but I have to 

So agonizing. So true when you’ve lost someone you love – or maybe when you don’t know where they are. Ugh. Gut wrenching.

Taylor says on her website, “. . . love is unpredictable and it’s frustrating and it’s tragic and it’s beautiful. And even though there’s no way to feel like I’m an expert at it, it’s worth writing songs about — more than anything else I’ve ever experienced in my life.” 

Taylor’s moving – and sometimes heartbreaking – lyrics are inspired by her life. She says listening to her songs is like reading her diary. Her songs are so relatable because we’ve all had good and bad relationships, tough breakups, or that elusive love who doesn’t know we exist. What’s different about Taylor is she’ll go and write a song about it – even using names – and put it out on public radio. So boys, beware. If you cross Taylor Swift, you WILL end up in a song.

Read more about Taylor Swift at

Nickelback is Awesome!

Bailey here – 

While we’re on the subject of rock bands, I also love Nickelback. They’re a Canadian band with a totally unique sound. Chad Kroeger, the lead singer, has a husky, sultry voice that I absolutely love. And he’s pretty hot, too. Heck, they’re all hot!

Legend has it that the band’s name originates from the nickel in change that bass player, Mike Kroeger (Chad’s brother) gave customers at his job at Starbucks. He’d frequently say, “Here’s your nickel back.” I love it! Cool name and way cool story. 

Nickelback is one of the most commercially successful Canadian groups and have sold over 30 million records worldwide. My favorite album is Dark Horse. I especially love the songs Never Gonna to be Alone, If Today Was Your Last Day, Gotta Be Somebody, and I’d Come for You. 

The words in I’d Come for You are amazing: 

  • I’d come for you
  • No one but you
  • Yes I’d come for you
  • But only if you told me to
  • I’d fight for you
  • I’d lie it’s true
  • Give my life for you
  • You know I’ll always come for you 

I love those words! How wonderful it’d be to be loved like that someday. Hmmm. Someday.

See the cool video for the I’d Come for You at And check out Nickelback at

Do you love Nickelback, too?

I Love Daughtry!

Bailey here again –

So you know I love Native flute music, especially Carlos Nakai. But I also have a rocker side. I love the band, Daughtry! Yes I watched Chris Daughtry when he was on American Idol, and I cheered for him from the moment of his first audition.

Not only did I love his amazing and unique voice, I loved his story. What a cool guy! He married his wife, Deanna, in 2000 and became a dad to her children. How many young guys do you know who’ll do that? And then he got famous – very successful and famous. But did he trade in his wife for a shiny, new one? 


He’s still in love with Deanna and they just had twins in November 2010.

Here’s what kind of guy Chris is. In a December 2007 interview with Gibson Lifestyle, Chris said, “I used to call [my wife] and just quickly throw in the towel. But I’ve found that the less I say and the more I actually listen to her, and just be there without actually being there, is the best thing I can do. As a man, I always feel like I need to say something. Sometimes I have to stop myself because all I want to do is call and tell her about how much awesome stuff is going on in my life, and, you know, her day is sucking hard. I could write a book on it, I’m serious.” 

Is he just too good to be true??

Anyway, about the music. I love both Daughtry albums – Daughtry, the five-times platinum and fastest-selling debut rock album in Soundscan history, and Leave This Town, which is already platinum. I rarely like every single song on an album, but that’s the way it is with both of these for me. Every. Single. Song. 

I especially love the song, “It’s Not Over” (Daughtry) with the words: 

  • It’s not over
  • This love is killing me but you’re the only one
  • It’s not over

I dream of someone being so in love with me that they would feel like this. About me. Hmmmm.

I also love the song, “Call Your Name” (Leave This Town) with the words:

  • And when you fall apart
  • Am I the reason for your endless sorrow
  • There’s so much to be said
  • And with a broken heart
  • Your walls can only go down but so low
  • Can you hear me when I call your name

Oh, such bittersweet sorrow. Ugh. I love it! To feel such powerful emotions AND to be able to put them into words.

You can check out Daughtry at

Let me know if you’re a Daughtry fan, too.