Ute tribal dancers perform for Sundance festival-goers

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 24 2012 3:48 p.m. MST

Joey Kanip waits to perform Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, at the Swaner EcoCenter in Park City as part of a cultural program sponsored by Ute Tribal Enterprises. Organizers hope to make the program an annual event that coincides with the Sundance Film Festival.

Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

PARK CITY —Movie makers and business owners aren't the only ones courting Sundance Film Festival crowds. Descendants of some of Utah's original residents are also trying to get the attention of festival-goers.

Members of the Ute Indian Tribe shared their culture Monday during a special event at the Swaner EcoCenter in Park City.

"It was meant to draw some of the Sundance film participants and also to (draw) the Native American filmmakers that are here, and to kind of just show a presentation of the tribe and our culture," said Valentina Sireech, marketing director for Ute Tribal Enterprise.

The event was the brainchild of Ute Tribal Enterprise CEO Forrest Cuch, who noted a disconnect between the people that live in the area and the tribe, Sireech said. In the midst of the Sundance Film Festival, the company wanted to make sure that the tribe had a presence.

In addition to dancing, the program also showcased the art of local Ute tribe members, from beadwork to photography.

"We have a first-ever artists guild, and that's the Ute Tribal Artists Guild," Sireech said. "We actually wanted to incorporate this celebration with art also."

Sireech said this is only the beginning of what the tribe hopes to accomplish, and she hopes to see the event grow larger in future years.

Geoff Liesik Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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