Our mission is to increase awareness in the Roaring Fork Valley of Indigenous presence, history, and wisdom through cultural exchange and community education; to support tribal members and grassroots Indigenous programs that facilitate social and economic development opportunities.
In April 2019 we had our first "full blown" Pow Wow in Aspen.
Shining Mountains Pow Wow is now an annual event.
Save the date!
Next Shining Mountains Pow Wow will be Saturday April 10, 2021
Previous years: Pow Wow Exhibitions in Aspen
Make a Difference in the Community
Every April, we bring Tribal members from different Reservations to celebrate end of winter with traditional drumming and dancing in full Regalias. Event sponsors Native American Indians to travel from their Reservations to Aspen for a two days visit. The purpose of AIF program is to give a chance to impoverished individuals from diverse Indian Reservations, by coming to Aspen Valley, to be exposed to a physically and emotionally healthy environment, to lift up their spirit by reconnecting with their ancestral lands, and to educate the “non-Indian community” to the plight of the first inhabitants of this continent. We feel that by supporting the traditional ways of the American Indians through Pow Wows and cultural events, we contribute to healing long lasting traumas that are affecting the Indigenous Peoples.
Coming up: Aspen Pow Wow - Saturday April 10th 2021
Aspen Indigenous Foundation, under the leadership of Deanne Vitrac-Kessler, created the first Native American Indian Film festival in Aspen. It has been named "Shining Mountains Film Festival" in reference to the Ute terms for the mountains in this area. This year, we have partnered with The Wheeler Opera and The Aspen Film to create an annual event as a celebration of Indigenous People's Day.
Shining Mountains Film Festival is Aspen’s first Native American film festival that celebrates the spirit of our nation’s indigenous cultures. In honor of Aspen’s second year of declaring the second Monday in October “Indigenous Peoples Day”, this festival explores Native American culture, spirituality, vision, determination, and strength through shorts and feature films.
LAKOTA EQUINE THERAPY
We sponsor a youth healing program, "The Victory Ride", that takes a group of about 25 Lakota youth on a horse adventure from Slim Buttes SD to Battle of Little Big Horn in Montana. Many of the kids who come on this ride, are from dysfunctional families and have experienced harsh living conditions. This therapeutic ride is the only available resource, in their rural area, to be exposed to a loving and safe environment that will promote vital healing for their spirit. This annual 3 weeks long ride (June 10 -25) teaches:
- Traditional Songs
- History of the Trail
- Identity and love of Self
- Arts & Crafts
- Healthy Habits
Lakota Oyate Woohiya Akanyanke (Annual Lakota Youth Ride)
is under the direction of Phyllis Bald Eagle and Amos Cook of Takini, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe SD
Funds are very limited and help is needed.
Please sponsor a youth - Full ride $300
- One week $100
Get in touch with ASPEN INDIGENOUS FOUNDATION to discover more about our work and how to donate. We are a non-profit organization that exists only through donations. AIF is under the umbrella of 501C3, Davi Nikent, Center for Human Flourishing. Please help preserve Indigenous cultures!
Contact Deanne Vitrac-Kessler
Black Elk - Oglala Sioux
"The first peace, which is the most important, in that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."