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Someone once said that the message of Christmas is that we are never alone.
Certainly this was the case at the Owens Valley Indian Housing Authority annual Christmas celebration held on Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Lone Pine Tribeâ€™s Gymnasium. Offered as part of the OVIHAâ€™s Community Drug and Alcohol Awareness Program, dozens of families attended to hear the message from Rick Frey on the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse on their community.
â€śThe great thing about the Christmas event was that it was informative, highly entertaining, a wonderful celebration of the Christmas season, and it was shared with friends and family,â€ť one attendee said. â€śThe Indian Housing Authority staff and volunteers did an incredible job of decorating the large gym with trees and lights.â€ť
It was a well-attended event during which dinner was also served. After a few words from Director Robert Zuco, tribal members Ray Hunter and Ross Stone sang a traditional Native American song. Afterwards, DeCymbr Frank of the Navajo Nation treated the gathering to the National Anthem in her native language. Later, DeCymbrâ€™s younger sister Elei sang â€śSilent Nightâ€ť and â€śJoy to the Worldâ€ť in their native language as well.
After dinner was provided to all, more festivities followed. Crowd-pleasers Sage Romero, Bobby Piper, Bailee Piper and Aurora Toledo treated the audience to performances of Native American dances.
These dances are not only considered beautiful to watch, with elaborate, colorful outfits and artistry of movement, they reminded those present of the richness of Native American culture and history.
Drawings for gifts were made throughout the evening. One lucky participant won a microwave while another took home a brand-new gas grill. Before the end of the celebration, a kidsâ€™ raffle was held to hand out 16 new bicycles to youth who had attended the event. Even Santa Claus made a personal appearance, offering each child present a Christmas stocking stuffed with goodies.
At the end of the eveningâ€™s celebration, very few were left without some gift. It was pointed out that perhaps more importantly, everyone left with a sense of the Christmas spirit â€“ and pride in their Native American heritage.