Two local girls have been traveling all summer, going to pow wows and representing the Owens Valley.
Now the two, Junior Miss Pabanamanina and Miss Big Pine Paiute Tribe, want to dance and represent their communities, cultures and tribes at a giant Idaho pow wow and are hoping the public can help them get there.
Miss Big Pine Paiute Tribe Bailee Piper, 13, and 11-year-old Aurora Toledo, Junior Miss Pabanamanina, have set their sights on the 48th Annual Shoshone Bannock Festival on the Fort Hall Reservation, Fort Hall, Ida.
The event is the latest in a long line of goals the pair have set for themselves in their short, yet fruitful, dancing careers.
According to Alison Piper, Bailee’s mom and Aurora’s aunt, the girls have been dancing since they were just out of diapers.
They dance for fun, as sport and because it is in their blood – a tradition carried down through the generations that they are proud to keep alive.
The girls also dance to raise money for costumes and to go to more pow wows, but also as ambassadors of the area and to represent their titles.
“They dance with their uncles, Sage Romero and Bobby Piper, in the AKA Mya Cultural Dance Group,” Piper said in an e-mail, “they do cultural presentations throughout the year.”
Piper added that the pair attend many pow wows during the year, “but the Shoshone Bannock Festival is easily their favorite since it is one of the largest and there are so many other activities going on.”
Delbert Farmer, one of the festival organizers, said the event is more than just a pow wow; it includes a rodeo, handgames, arts and crafts, games for the kids, men’s and women’s golf tournaments and a softball game.
“It is one of the most diverse pow wows in the country,” Farmer said.
The event draws nearly 30,000 guests and dancers from as far away as Canada, to Nevada to Montana.
Farmer added that when the girls get to Idaho, they can save a little on gas at $3.25 a gallon.
The summer pow wows are the culmination of a year’s worth of practice and dedication. Piper said the girls plan on attending seven pow wows this season, with the last one in 2011 being in Palm Springs at the Spotlight 29 Casino in November.
“Then we’ll take a break until February to make regalia repairs for the 2012 pow wow season,” Piper said.
The money that the girls win dancing is saved or used to help them get to their next pow wow.
Bailee will be an eighth-grader this year, and recently earned the title of the 2012 Color Guard Captain. Toldeo will be a sixth-grader this coming school year; they both attend Home Street Middle School.
Toldeo is the Junior Miss representative for the local pow wow, otherwise known as Junior Miss Pabanampanina. The Bishop pow wow is held in September as part of Native American Day. Bailee is Miss Big Pine Paiute Tribe 2010-2011.
Toledo has been dancing since the age of 4 and Bailee since she was 6, Piper said. Toledo dances in the 7- to 12-year-old “Jingle Dress” category and Bailee competes in the teenaged category of “Fancy Dance.” The two performed with Romero in the 2011 Rose Parade.
There will be an Indian Taco fundraiser for the girls from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5 at the Valley Presbyterian Church on West Line Street in Bishop, just east of Manor Market. For more information or to make a donation, call Piper at (760) 937-9605.