Category Archives: Saguache Life

Annual Pow-Wow in Saguache on August 24-25

By Kathy Bedell © Saguache Today

For those who look forward to the Annual Community Pow-Wow held in Saguache every year, there’s good news! This year, the event will now span over two days, August 24 and 25 to be held in Otto Mears Park.

Many Nations, One Community of Indian drummers, singers and dancers will gather at Otto Mears Park in Saguache for this two-day celebration of all things Native American.  The park opens on both days at 9 a.m. and the event is free and open to the public.

The Annual Intertribal Pow Wow in Saguache, Colorado

As has been tradition, Master of Ceremony Long Soldier will kick off the celebration on both days with the Grand Entry scheduled for 11 a.m., followed by traditional drum music and festive dancing for all. This year’s drum circle will include musicians from NihokaDine of Tuba City, Ariz., and the Up Stream Singers, Kansas Kickapoo. The evening culminates a Pot Luck Honor Meal with friends and neighbors sharing their favorite side dish to compliment the main feast, usually donated by a local farmer or rancher from the San Luis Valley.

According to a blog by Crowfox KmimilaWi: This Pow-Wow began as a dream many years ago. It was created to be a heritage learning experience by a Native American Community member for her dancing for her children.  Her dream was to keep indigenous heritage alive in the community while instilling pride in her children as they learned about Regalia and dancing.

Honor, prayers and a drum circle are presented at the Annual Saguache Pow Wow. Photo: Saguache Today.

It has been more than 20 years since those pow-wows, today community members work to continue that dream on a larger scale. This pow-wow is unique in that it focuses on the non-competitive origins of this tradition. This is one of the more spiritual pow-wows in the area.

While the central focus of the weekend’s celebration is Native American culture and traditions, there is also a fair surrounding Otto Mears Park with everything from food vendors to arts and crafts, with Native American specialties being the focus.

Some background . . . Saguache and the entire San Luis Valley was known as the land of the Ute Indians, but the area was also known to 12 different Indian tribes, including the Navajo, Apache, and Comanche, who came to trade, hunt, and raid.

Eventually, the Utes made a treaty of peace with the United States in 1849, shortly after the Mexican War. Afterward, settlers from New Mexico established several small communities in what is now Colorado and in 1868 the Utes were removed to a reservation in western Colorado. They continued to play a role in Saguache in the northwestern corner of the valley from the Los Pinos Agency to the west of Saguache until they lost their expansive reservation as the result of the Meeker massacre in 1879.

Come, gather with others to learn about the meaningful traditions of Indigenous People at the 8th Annual Saguache Community Pow-Wow. For more information, readers may contact Crowfox at 719-588-3390 or via email:

For more details, you may also connect with the group on the Annual Saguache Pow-Wow Facebook Page. Otto Mears Park is located between Christy and Pitkin Avenues just off on Highway 285 in Saguache, CO.  It’s time to celebrate the things that make everyone special and unique in Saguache Today!

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A popular event among area vendors, the Saguache Pow-Wow offers everything from food to jewelry to art, many with a Native American theme. Photo: Saguache Today

Search Mission Concluded with Fatality

Yesterday multiple emergency services agencies including the Saguache County Search and Rescue team concluded a mission that ended in a fatality on Challenger Point, located in neighboring Custer County.

On July 28 the body of 41-year-old Lt. Colonel USAF Dan Wallick was recovered from Challenger Point, a popular summit for hikers looking to take on a “14er.” The initial call came in on the evening of Wednesday, July 24, when Saguache County received a 911 call for an overdue hiker in the Kit Carson Peak/Challenger Point area.  The hiker had intended to summit both peaks and was reported overdue by family members.  

By dawn’s first light at 0600 on Thursday, July 25, Custer County officials took the protocol lead in the search and rescue mission, since the incident was technically in their county. Search and Rescue teams were fielded, covering the major trail systems and routes leading up to Kit Carson Peak and Challenger Point, two of Colorado’s 14ers.

The day started out for the seasoned hiker at the Willow Creek trail trailhead by Crestone which is located in Saguache County. Wallick had headed first to Challenger Point where he summited this 14,087-foot fourteener at 11a.m. Then he headed towards neighboring Kit Carson, reaching its peak at a few minutes past noon. That was the last communication indicated from family reports, adding: “His descent was back towards Challenger, but it is not known what he did from the saddle on the way down.”

That was Wednesday and when nightfall came and there was no additional communication from the Air Force Colonel, family members made the call to alert authorities.

Eventually, air support was called in and on Saturday, July, 27 the victim’s body was located by a Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control helicopter. However, due to the difficult terrain and deteriorating weather conditions, the search teams were told to stand down and re-inserted on yesterday, Sunday, July 28 to access and recover Wallick’s body.

Search and rescue mission ends with fatality.
Lt. Colonel USAF Dan Wallick

It’s always a group effort during these SAR missions, and the following organizations were also there for the assist: Saguache County Search and Rescue, Baca Grande Volunteer Fire Department, Custer County Search and Rescue (CCSAR), Western Mountain Rescue Team, Fremont Search and Rescue, Douglas County Search and Rescue, Alpine Rescue Team, US Forest Service, Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC), Colorado Search and Rescue (CSAR), leadership from his assigned command, as well as aerial assets from Flight for Life, Buckley Air Force Base Colorado Army National Guard (COANG), and Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (CO DFPC) aircraft.