Bear Dance at White Mesa
The annual Ute Mountain Ute Tribe White Mesa Bear Dance is returning to the White Mesa community this weekend starting on Friday, September 2, and concluding on Monday, September 5.
The event is open to the public for the first time in two years. Last year the bear dance was limited to tribal members, with the event being canceled the year previous due to Covid-19 concerns. This year the tribe is asking those who are not fully vaccinated to remain masked at all times.
Friday starts with the sunrise prayer and blessing at 6 am at the Bear Dance Corral. The Bear Dance celebration begins in earnest at 10 am.
On Saturday the festivities continue with the Bear Dance walk at 8 am, it starts and ends at the White Mesa Recreation Center.
The Day & Night Bear Dance begins at 10 am and continues throughout the day.
Registration for the annual handgame tournament opens at 11 am and closes at 2 pm. The games begin at 2:30 sharp. The entry fee is $100 for a team of two-to-five players. First place will receive a prize of $2,500, with $2,000 for second and $1,000 for third place.
Sunday’s Day & Night Bear Dance also begins at 10 am.
The celebration ends on Monday with the Bear Dance starting at 10 am and concluding at sundown. A feast will be held at Noon next to the Pow-Wow grounds.
Those seeking more information about the event can call (435) 678-3397 or 678-3685.
This year’s White Mesa Bear Dance chiefs are Jack Cantsee Jr., Tallas Cantsee, Aldean Ketchum, and Eric Wells.