The arts, including visual and performing, as well as vendors will be featured during this weekends Nixyaawii Performing Arts & Music Festival. The event, which is being organized by the Nixyaawii Performing Arts Consortium, will include a silent auction of items donated by artists and vendors.

Among the auction items will be beaded artwork created by Roger Amerman. Ron Pond, who heads up the newly formed consortium, said Tribal elders helped Amerman get his start in beading.

Amerman, who now resides in Stites,?Idaho, is a driving force behind the efforts of festival organizers, Pond said.

“He was raised here in Pendleton and moved on,” Pond said. “He’s really a talented person — he’s gained notoriety in the field with his beadwork.”

The event opens Friday at 3 p.m. at the Pow Wow Grounds at Wildhorse Resort & Casino, 72777 Highway 331, Pendleton. It continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to dusk.

The focus of the event, Pond said, is to share and celebrate the work of local artists and performers. In addition, he said, organizers are hoping to raise some money to benefit students who attend schools, including colleges and universities, both on and off the reservation.

“We’re calling this the first annual because we have high hopes next year,” Pond said. “We want to focus our attention on the arts — it just hasn’t been done enough on our reservation like it was a long time ago.”

The highest bidder will be able to take home a vintage headlights headgear-regalia, Pond said. Featuring porcupine hair and buckskin, it’s donated by Annis Ernesti of Wapato, Wash. In addition, a beaded baby cradle board made by Natelie Pond and rawhide saddle bags crafted by Ron Pond will be included in the silent auction.

A special ceremony is planned Saturday to honor American Indian veterans.

“We always honor the veterans, it’s a way of showing respect,” Pond said. “It’s part of our agenda and we’ll work it in.”

Pond said a small group of organizers has been working on the program. They envision performers gathering to display their talents in music, theatre and dance. Also, artists with works in progress are encouraged to bring the items for an art demonstration, allowing them to answer questions or promote their current works.

“We know we have those with talent in arts and music,” he said. “We’re trying to reach out and let it be know that anyone is welcome.”

For more information about the festival, call Pond at 541-276-1171 or go to www.nixyaawiiart.org.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.

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