Indigenous spring celebrations held across Utah to welcome the new season

Apr 6, 2024, 5:33 PM | Updated: 5:35 pm

SALT LAKE CITY We all knew better, right? 

After a beautiful, warm, sunny day just a few days ago, there was a lot of snow in northern Utah on Saturday. 

Even with the snow, though, there was no way Shelby Chapoose was going to let it stop her from celebrating spring. 

“Right. Right. That is the other thing about spring. You never know what is going to happen,” she said. “Today was all about welcoming spring with a truly Indigenous practice which was the bear dance.” 

Chapoose is a member of the Uncompahgre Ute tribe from Fort Duchesne. She is also the executive director of Indigenous Health and Wellness Connections, a group dedicated to serving, strengthening, and promoting health and wellness among Indigenous tribes. 

 The group held its spring gathering at the Natural History Museum in Salt Lake City on Saturday morning. 

“It is the start of a new chapter and so bringing communities together and getting out and just simply having fun. That is what we wanted to do,” Chapoose said. 

A similar event was held at Utah State University in Logan, and it is the first time this particular event was held since 2018. 

Kyra John is a recent graduate of Utah State University. (KSL TV)

Students helped to bring it back to not only celebrate spring, but also to preserve the Indigenous tribes’ deep sense of family, pride, and tradition. 

“We are representing how strong we are still by our music and our dancing that we pass down from generation,” said Kyra John, a recent graduate of Utah State University. “We are a very proud people. We love to share it with everybody and include everybody here in the circle.” 

So, no matter how much snow fell, it is officially spring. 

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Indigenous spring celebrations held across Utah to welcome the new season