Washo Snow Dance this Sunday

Tahoe Snow Globe

Tahoe Snow Globe

Classic Tahoe – on a bare winter, it used to be a few ski bums out at the old Lucky’s grocery in Tahoe City with a tip jar and some 5-gallon buckets for a “Come on Winter” Car Wash. Now we’re getting serious – the tribe native to Tahoe, the Washo, are going to do a Snow Dance as the culmination of the West Shore Association’s Olympic Heritage Week. Here’s the press release:

History repeats this coming Sunday at Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park as the Eagle Wings Dance Group, descendents of the Paiute, Shoshone and Washo Tribes will be offering traditional songs and dances sacred to the tribes represented to the Creator-God in thanks as part of the Closing Ceremonies for Olympic Heritage Celebration week.

An absence of January snow in the Sierra posed similar planning concerns for the organizers of this week’s Olympic Heritage Celebration events as for the organizers of the VIII Winter Olympic Games, Nordic events, held on Lake Tahoe’s west shore in 1960.  The nervous organizers of those original Olympics brought in Great Basin dancers to encourage snowfall.

“No snow coverage has presented problems, but has also opened a door to history”, Said Heidi Doyle, the Volunteer and Interpretation Program Manager for California State Parks in the Lake Tahoe Area.  “Sugar Pine Point State Park was the summer home of the Washo peoples and we are thrilled that their traditions will return to the West Shore of Lake Tahoe this winter,” said Doyle.

“The lack of rain and snow has been a concern in the Native community, as well”, says Lois Kane the Language and Culture Coordinator of the Reno Sparks Indian Colony. The Eagle Wing Dance group performance will conclude with a round dance in which all are invited to participate.  “We could end up with one large round dance with all of the people dancing and praying for snow, said Kane.

Athletes from around the world came to Lake Tahoe to participate in the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. The biathlon and cross country events of the VIII Winter Games were held in what is now Ed Z’Berg Sugar Pine Point State Park.  Portions of the marked Nordic trails, found within the State park, follow the route of the biathlon and men’s events. Olympic Heritage Celebration week celebrates the spirit of athleticism and highlights the unique cultural heritage found within the park and our region.

Past Olympians, officials, and dignitaries from the 1960 Nordic events will also be on hand to commemorate the end of a week celebrating our Olympic Heritage.   The ceremony will take place at Sugar Pine Point State Park in front of a ¼ scale replica of the Tower of Nations that stands at the entrance to Squaw Valley.  The park is located on Highway 89 mid point on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, just south of Tahoma.  The Closing Ceremonies begin at 2:30pm and there is a $8 per vehicle parking fee.

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