TUSAYAN — Celebrate the winter solstice with native Americans this week at the Canyon Star Restaurant and Grand Hotel in Tusayan.
Celebrations are scheduled Friday and Saturday at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. each evening.
“It’s this time of the year, when our Father Sun reaches its winter home, and also creation stories, song and dances are told at this time,” said Rex Tilousi, Havasupai traditional leader.
“Our spiritual connection with the Canyon is, we got our red paint from within the Canyon or sometimes we traded for it,” said Ramon Riley of the Fort Apache Museum.
Chissie Nez, a full-blooded Chirachaucha Apache, was born at the head of Supai Canyon in 1848. He later became a great leader of the Navajos and went to Washington D.C., on behalf of the Navajos to reacquire the western Navajo reservation.
“Before we got into the Canyon, we make an offering to the Canyon with little chips of sea shells and turquoise, we don’t go into the Canyon without a purpose,” said Ace Charles, Navajo leader. “We hold Grand Canyon very sacred.”
The Havasupai, Apaches and Navajo will be doing their traditional winter dances and sharing their culture with visitors at the Canyon Star Restaurant. There is no admission.
There will be two Christmas Eve services at the Shrine of the Ages, the Rev. Joe Surin of the Grand Canyon Community Church announced.
There will be a 9 p.m. service Sunday at the Shrine of the Ages. The service is a cooperative effort between the Grand Canyon Assembly of God Church, the Grand Canyon Baptist Church and the Grand Canyon Community Church.
Later at 11:30 p.m., there will be a community church midnight candlelight service, also at the Shrine of the Ages.
Christmas Masses at the El Cristo Rey Catholic Chapel will be Saturday at 5 p.m., Sunday at 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., and that evening at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.
There will also be Masses on Christmas day, Monday, at 8:30 a.m., and 10:30 a.m.
All Masses are at the El Cristo Rey chapel, located on the corner of Albright and Boulder streets.