Native Trails Celebrates 15th Anniversary of Cultural Traditions in Scottsdale

Experience the rich and varied cultures of Native American nations through storytelling, song and dance during the 15th anniversary of Native Trails, presented by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and produced by the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. This milestone year focuses on the theme of unity from noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays through March 30 at the Scottsdale Civic Center Park.

Admission is free. The events will focus on connecting people from many different cultures and finding commonalities to establish unity.

“The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation again is honored to serve as the title sponsor of Native Trails,” said the Nation’s President Bernadine Burnette. “Many visitors to the Valley are keenly interested in learning about Arizona’s Indian tribes, and especially about our histories and cultures. Native Trails’ entertaining programs open a window into the rich heritage of Arizona’s 22 tribes.”

“Although we may come from different cultural backgrounds, as part of the same human family, we hold many common values,” said Derrick Suwaima Davis, artistic director of Native Trails. “We share in the concepts of loving our families, establishing balance in our lives and encouraging success for all. There is more that unifies us than divides us. However, in times of difficulty, we may lose sight of this truth.”

Suwaima said the 15th anniversary season of Native Trails will renew old friendships and celebrate appreciation for people of all backgrounds. His wish is for people to honor their cultural differences while remaining united in building a healthy future for the generations that will follow.


  • SEE: Suwaima thrills audiences with his mesmerizing hoop dances. Suwaima’s dance utilizes only five hoops, which are formed into a variety of nature-inspired shapes, such as the eagle, butterfly and the Earth. And the visuals aren’t limited to dance, as Suwaima and his fellow performers liven the atmosphere by wearing colorful regalia that represents their respective tribes.
  • HEAR: Let the rhythm move you. Guests are encouraged to join in the fun with the grand finale Round Dance. Cast members join hands with the audience to form a circle, which symbolically represents the equality of all people in the circle.
  • TOUCH: Artisans will be showing crafts including jewelry, woven baskets, pottery, instruments and paintings.
  • TASTE AND SMELL: The inviting aroma of fry bread will lead audience members to a food truck where they can satisfy their hunger.

About Native Trails and Derrick Suwaima Davis

Native Trails performances began in January 2003 as part of the City of Scottsdale’s cultural tourism initiative, Culture Quest Scottsdale. The program was created following a City-conducted study that revealed Scottsdale tourists desired to experience Native American culture during their visit. Since 2003, more than 75,000 guests of all ages have enjoyed performances of Native Trails.

Derrick Suwaima Davis is Native Trails’ founding artistic director. Suwaima, who has Hopi and Choctaw heritage, is the only seven-time world hoop dance champion and has lectured and performed in places such as Germany, Denmark, Malaysia, Africa, Japan, Australia and Singapore. Suwaima said that participating in multicultural events around the world and seeing how others capture their own human experiences through their culture has been a great inspiration to him.

About the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, located just east of Scottsdale, is a 950-member Native America tribe that calls central Arizona’s upper Sonoran Desert home. The FMYN is committed to the expansion of tribal services and enterprises to meet the changing needs of its members, while preserving their traditional values. The Nation owns and operates a number of successful businesses including the We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club and Fort McDowell Adventures.

About Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Since 1975, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts has provided a stage for a wide range of voices and perspectives, creating shared, inspiring experiences for the community that celebrate artistic excellence and cultural awareness. Today one of the premier performing-arts halls in the western United States, the Center presents a diverse season of dance, music, theater, comedy and film from around the world.

For more information, including a full list of performance dates, visit or contact Experience Scottsdale at 480-421-1004 or toll-free at 800-782-1117.