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Native American Festival of Arts & Culture

One of the best things about living in Northern Arizona is the integration of and access to the history, rich culture and traditions of Native Americans. That is why this month, NACA (Native Americans for Community Action, Inc.) and the First Nations Development Institute are sponsoring the Native American Festival of Arts & Culture. The event is on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the DoubleTree Hilton, 1175 W. Route 66, Flagstaff.

The festival is a celebration of Indigenous cultures in Arizona and the Southwest. Regionally recognized painters, potters, bead workers, jewelry makers, cultural designers and crafters bring their wares to this special event. Festival-goers are treated to more than 40 authentic Native American artisans, along with traditional cultural performances and exhibitions that will be presented throughout the event. The festival also offers raffle prizes, photos with Santa, information, resources and more!

Many of the vendors are among the well-known artists who are regular vendors at the Oak Creek Vista Overlook on Highway 89, just north of the switchbacks leading down to Sedona. The Overlook is the most visited rest area in Coconino County, averaging one million visitors a year and is home to Northern Arizona’s most successful Native American open-air jewelry, art and craft markets.

The open-air market is sponsored by and supports NACA and is part of a longstanding partnership with Coconino National Forest Service. Currently, Navajo, Hopi and Zuni tribes participate in the daily market. NACA is working to recruit other tribes and Native artisans to participate.

The Overlook Market has been part of NACA since 1988 and is one of the most sought-after locations. Vendors like the open-air market because of the number of visitors and shoppers, resulting in good sales. The Native American Festival of Arts & Culture is slated to become one of the most sought-after and visited festivals in the region.

After expenses have been paid at the December festival and daily Overlook Market, the remaining monies are used to support services for Native American individuals who are in need, allowing NACA to provide services the organization otherwise would not be able to.

Founded in 1971, NACA, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Flagstaff. In 1991, NACA expanded its programs and services to include all people, not just Native Americans. NACA offers the following health services:

  • Medical care – Preventive, acute and chronic illness care; chronic disease, STD, HIV and health screenings; sports and CDL physicals; well exams; and vaccinations.
  • Behavioral health care – Individual, group and couples counseling; talking circle; drug and alcohol abuse prevention and counseling; and tobacco use prevention and cessation.
  • Wellness programs – Group fitness center, personal training and classes; nutrition counseling and education; diabetes education and self-management; hiking and walking groups; fitness events.
  • Community outreach – Pathways Youth Program; Workforce Innovation; Circles of Care; Reach UR Life


Both the festival and market help NACA meet its mission to empower Native American individuals within our local communities while encouraging them towards economic stability. NACA invests in and creates innovative institutions and models that strengthen and support economic development for Native American people and their families that spans many generations.

First Nations Development Institute improves economic conditions for Native Americans through technical assistance and training, advocacy and policy, and direct financial grants. Founded in 1980, the institute began its national grantmaking program in 1993. Through mid-year 2017, the organization has successfully managed 1,345 grants totaling more than $28.9 million to Native American projects and organizations in 39 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territory American Samoa. FBN

By Jeff Axtell

To learn more NACA’s programs, services and locations, visit or call 928-526-2968. To learn more about becoming a vendor at the Festival of Art and Culture or Overlook Market, contact Dorothy Gishie at or 928-606-1941.





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