Cultural Performers

Jay Begaye (Diné)

Jay Begaye was born in Steamboat Canyon, Arizona on the Navajo Nation. He is a round dance singer, leader of a pow-wow drum group, songwriter, painter, and sculptor. Additionally, Jay is an accomplished horseman and horse trainer and once competed in rodeos. After hearing the Snake River Singers at his first pow-wow, Jay was inspired to compose and sing his own songs. He first sang with the White Eagle Singers and later founded the Cathedral Lakes Singers, a Northern-style pow-wow group. His recordings for Canyon Records include The Beauty Way, Song of Colors, Night of the Northern Lights, and Horses Are Our Journey.

Dennis Bowen Sr., Seneca, of the Bear Clan

Dennis Bowen Sr., Seneca, of the Bear Clan has made his career in human services focused on youth and family wellness. In his early years, he experienced the trauma of United States breaking one of the oldest treaties with the construction of the Kinzua Dam in 1964 on the Seneca Allegany Territory. From that time, he has always maintained an intense commitment to the people and homeland. He is the former elected President of the Seneca Nation in New York from 1994-1996. During that time, he won a sovereignty court case, Bowen vs. Doyle, in February 1995. He developed the Nine-Voices Cultural Prevention Model to promote the many voices of Indian communities. He is a certified trainer to the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training developed by the Living Works Company. He has been involved in philanthropy work with the SEVA Foundation, where he served as one of the first American Indians to chair an international foundation. Bowen is a traditional singer, artist and has been working as a pow wow MC for over 43 years all across Turtle Island. Bowen retired in 2013 from the Tuba City Unified School District on the Western Navajo Nation. He now devotes his time as a care giver to his family in upstate New York. Bowen is a father of two and grandfather of three. He makes his home on the Seneca Allegany reservation in western New York and Tuba City, Arizona with his wife of 46 years, Alita Bennett Bowen.

Canyon Records

Canyon Records celebrates its 20th year as a Heard Fair sponsor, partner, producer, and technical services provider. Founded in 1951 by Ray and Mary Boley, Canyon is one of Arizona’s enduring cultural institutions as well as one of the oldest independent record labels in the country. An important commercial producer and supporter of Native music, artists, and culture, Canyon began as a lead sponsor of the Heard Fair in 2000 and later underwrote performances of Canyon artists in the amphitheater. In 2009, Canyon established the Courtyard Stage to present Canyon artists in a more intimate setting. Since 2013, Canyon has provided sound and lighting for the Best of Show reception and fashion show, and photography for the 2018 World Championship Hoop Dance Contest.

Cha'Bii'Tu Apache Crown Dancers

The group features members of the White Mountain Apache Tribe from McNary, Arizona. Cione Carroll is the group’s owner. Since 2010, they have danced throughout Arizona and New Mexico. In 2017, they traveled to Wisconsin for an Ojibwa Tribes Pow Wow. In 2018 they were featured in a music video with Jim Carter a country/pop singer along with Gerald Yuger-Crew from Alberta Canada. Gerald has been in several movies, including Dreamkeeper, Lost Face and Spirit of the World. They have garnered numerous awards, including best dance group at the Alamo Indian Days. Cha’Bii’Tu dance the Ga’an, Crown, or Mountain Dance, which is a blessing and healing dance among Western Apache Tribes.

Doreen Duncan (Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara)

See The Women Dance, Beautifully

Tony Duncan (Apache, Arikara and Hidatsa)

Tony has performed for audiences worldwide including performances at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Smithsonian Museum, The Billboard Music Awards, The Tonight Show, and The White House. Duncan was the 2013-14 Native American Music Awards Artist of the Year. As a flute player, he is currently signed to the largest Native American music label Canyon Records. Duncan has toured with acclaimed Native American artists such as R. Carlos Nakai and Joanne Shenandoah, as well as across Europe and Asia with international pop star, Nelly Furtado. He enchanted over 100,000 people in Paris, London, Tokyo, Manila, Switzerland and the Island of Malta with his hoop dancing and flute playing. He is the featured dancer on Nelly Furtado's music video, "Big Hoops.”

Violet Duncan (Plains Cree and Taíno)

Violet, from Kehewin, Alberta, Canada, was Miss Indian World 2012. As such, she represented all indigenous people of North America. Violet combines traditional dance styles and storytelling to tell stories passed down from generation to generation. She has performed for audiences across the United States, Canada and Europe. Violet is the author and illustrator of The Sweet Violet Series of children’s books. When We Dance tells about a mother passing down traditional teachings through oral history and dance to her daughter. The girl is taught that dance is a way to connect with all things and through dance they can truly appreciate the beauty all around them. Let's Hoop Dance, is a delightful father and son story about sharing the gift of the Hoop Dance inspired by Violet watching the passion and determination in her son when he danced with his father, five-time World Champion Hoop Dancer, Tony Duncan. Violet lives with her husband and four young children in Arizona.

“Dancing has always been an integral part of my life, as a Cree Woman I was taught that all things are connected; earth, sky, animals, insects and people. We are all a part of this world and we all share it. Dancing is how I connect with Mother Earth. We celebrate, we share and we pray, when we dance.” -Violet Duncan

William Eaton

William designs and builds innovative guitars and stringed instruments and is a founder and Director of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery, in Phoenix, AZ. A four time GRAMMY nominee Eaton has recorded 16 albums for Canyon Records and tours nationally and internationally. In 2015 he received the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award in the ‘artist’ category. Eaton has composed for and performed with the William Eaton Ensemble, Nouveau West Chamber Orchestra, Nebraska Chamber Orchestra and Amadeus Trio among others. He has performed and collaborated with R. Carlos Nakai, Will Clipman, Claudia Tulip, Allen Ames, Mary Redhouse, Arvel Bird, Edgar Meyer, Anthony Mazzella and Fitzhugh Jenkins. Along with his wife Christine, William is the co-Director of Old Town Center for the Arts, in Cottonwood, Arizona.

First Nations Warrior Society Color Guard

Led by Michael Smith, the Color Guard is comprised of Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine veterans. This group of Native American veterans has proudly presented the colors at the Heard Guild Fair for many years.

Jonah Littlesunday (Navajo)

Native American flutist Jonah Littlesunday has joined famed Canyon Records as a recording artist! A full-blooded Navajo from Grey Mountain, Arizona, Jonah Littlesunday has been playing the Native American Flute since the age of 14. Jonah gained media attention when he journeyed to Los Angeles to audition for NBC’s America’s Got Talent Season 10. The experience refocused Jonah on his musical career and since then he has performed across the country. He performed at the Gathering of the North American Flute in Flagstaff, Arizona alongside fellow Canyon artists GRAMMY-nominee R. Carlos Nakai and Tony Duncan and also shared the stage with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. Canyon Records reports that they are “honored to be working with Jonah and look forward to bringing Jonah’s artistry to a wider audience.” His recording, “Gratitude” is his debut album released by Canyon Records.

Eric Manuelito

Eric Manuelito is the Arena Director, an addition to the Amphitheater stage in 2015. Eric brings national experience to our event – he has served as Head Man, Arena Manager, educator, flute player and more. Eric will offer the morning prayer at the Opening Ceremony.

Roman, Joel and Tahj Orona

Roman Orona (Apache-Pueblo-Yaqui), his father Joel (Chiracahua/Jicarilla/Lipan Apache), and son Tahj (Apache-Pueblo-Yaqui-Persian-Kurdish). see Sons and Fathers.

Sons and Fathers

Sons and Fathers presents a rare opportunity for Heard Fairgoers to experience the specialness of the relationship of father and son in Apache culture. Three generation of Apache men, Roman Orona (Apache-Pueblo-Yaqui), his father Joel (Chiracahua/Jicarilla/Lipan Apache), and son Tahj (Apache-Pueblo-Yaqui-Persian-Kurdish), will express and share the vitality of Apache survival and renewal through music, dance, stories, and poetry. The Oronas will play Apache drums while Roman and Tahj will add dance and Joel will tell stories and recite original poetry. Roman, who received Best Male Vocalist honors from the Native American Music Awards, has released Circling Spirits for Canyon Records.

Clark Tenakhongva (Hopi)

Clark Tenakhongva (Hopi, of the Rabbit and Tobacco clans), was born at Keams Canyon, Arizona, and lives in the village of Hotevilla (Hoat‘ve’la or “place of cedars”) on Third Mesa. Clark follows the tradition of the Hopi, is a Katsina carver who presents annually at the Heard Fair, and has hosted a radio show on KUYI. Recently elected Vice-Chairman of the Hopi nation, Clark served in the U.S. Army for ten years and worked in the Office of Veterans’ Outreach Services for over 20 years until retiring in 2017. His recordings for Canyon Record include Hear My Song Hear My Prayer, Hoat’Ve’La, Po’li, and Su’Vu’Yo’Yungw

Ryon Polequaptewa (Hopi, of the Sun Clan)

Ryon Polequaptewa, leader of the Thunder Boy Dance Group, was born to the Sun Clan of Shungopavi Village. Hopi songs and dances were a big part of his childhood. Currently living in Phoenix, AZ, Ryon and his friends and family get together and teach Hopi youth their culture. The group has danced the Santa Domingo Butterfly dance for various functions, including at the Desert Botanical Gardens, Heard Museum, Montezuma Castle. Dances include the Hopi Butterfly Dance which is to help restore balance and harmony. It also pays special gratitude to the insect people who help pollinate the plants. These dances bring moisture to our home lands here in the desert. Water is life. So come sing, dance and pray with us for a healthy life. Kwakwa -Thank you.

Thunder Springs Drum Group (Hopi)

Thunder Springs Northern Drum Circle, led by Lamon Barehand (Hopi/Pima) is prominent in the opening and closing ceremonies. The Hopi drum group includes Lamar Barehand, Lamon Barehand, Budge Mahle and Nate Barehand.

The Women Dance, Beautifully

Doreen Duncan (Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara) and granddaughter Summer Lopez will lead an ensemble of women dancers demonstrating the beauty and grace of pow-wow dances for women including the fancy shawl, jingle dress, northern traditional, and southern traditional. The dancers will also perform a couples dance, challenge dance, and contemporary style dance. The performance will finish with an invitation to all Heard Fairgoers to join a community round dance in the amphitheater. This celebration of the importance of women in the pow-wow circle and in all Native communities was commissioned by the Heard Museum Guild and produced and directed by Canyon Records. Dancers include: Kendra Redhouse, Renae Blackwater (Oglala/Lakota/Navajo), Yolanda Tsosie, Bria Gray, Kenneth Shirley (Diné) and Tyren Lodgepole.

Aaron White (Navajo-Ute)

Aaron White (Navajo-Ute) has been one of Arizona’s busiest musicians for the past 30 years, performing guitar and Native American flute throughout the state and nationally. Aaron is a regular performer at the Wild Horse Pass Resort near Phoenix and has performed with Jackson Browne, John Densmore (The Doors), Bruce Cockburn, and Taj Mahal. Aaron is also an accomplished Native American flutist and flutemaker, performing the traditional flute regularly in concert and at museums and resorts. His recordings for Canyon Records include Burning Sky, Blood of the Land, Creation, A Simple Man, GRAMMY® nominated Spirits in the Wind, and Moonlight Love Songs.

Xavier Quijas Yxayotl (Huichol)

Xavier Quijas Yxayotl (Huichol) was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and lived and studied with his Huichol relatives in the mountains of Jalisco and Nayarit. Xavier performs and makes pre-Columbian-style instruments based on Mayan and Aztec flutes only found in museums as well as turtle-shell and log drums, rainsticks, and rattles. He revived the death whistle, a skull shaped clay whistle which produces an eerily shrill sound used in battle to intimidate enemies. After moving to Los Angeles, Xavier created America Indigena, an ensemble specializing in the music and dance of native Mexicá, and now lives in Peoria, Arizona. His recordings for Canyon Records include Crossroads and Aztec Dances.