Closing Ceremonies at the California Academy of Sciences

SAN FRANCISCO (December 15, 2003) - During its last three days in Golden Gate Park until 2008, the Academy of Sciences will be free to the public and open for extended hours. From 9:00 am until 9:00 pm each day, visitors will be invited to explore the Academy's exhibits one last time before coming downtown in the spring to discover new natural history exhibits and visit the Aquarium animals in their temporary home on Howard Street.

At 3:00 pm each day, local American Indian groups will perform traditional dances and blessing ceremonies to mark this special time in the Academy's history. The ceremonies will give thanks to Mother Earth for the special place the Academy has occupied in Golden Gate Park for almost a century and bless the land in preparation for our reopening in the park in 2008. Please join us as we celebrate our past and look forward to our rebirth.

Dancers and drummers from the Mixcoatl-Anahuac group will kick off the Academy’s closing ceremonies on December 29.

Monday, December 29
To the beat of the drum, the Mixcoatl-Anahuac Dancers will perform Aztec ceremonial dances that originated in pre-Columbian Mexico. Wearing spectacular outfits, musical ankle rattles (cascaveles), and elaborate headdresses made of pheasant and macaw feathers, the group will perform indigenous dances dedicated to respect for all living creatures, including la paloma (dove), the eagle dance, and the deer dance.

Tuesday, December 30
Under the direction of Patrick Orozco, the youth dance group Amah-Ka-Tura (meaning “people of the land”) will perform Ohlone Indian songs and dances to the rhythm of clapper sticks and deer rattles. The Ohlone tribes, often called Mission Indians, are the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Bay Area, and the songs will be performed in the Ohlone language.

Wednesday, December 31
Lakota Sioux elder Will Two Bears will lead the final blessing ceremony at the Academy, after which the Medicine Warriors Dance Troupe will perform typical Plains Indian pow wow dances, accompanied by the All Nations singers and drummers. Among the dances will be the Grass Dance, which is performed to bless the ground and give thanks for the renewal of life each spring. The Medicine Warriors are led by Gilbert Blacksmith, who performs Fancy Dancing – an athletic style of dance featuring fast footwork and colorful feathered regalia.


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