Kiowa artist from Oklahoma City wins top honors at Red Earth Festival

R.W. Geionety, of Oklahoma City, wins top honors at 26th annual Red Earth Festival. Art showcase, competitive American Indian dancing continues through Sunday at Cox Convention Center.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: June 10, 2012

Geionety said he's won several awards in the past, but none as honorable as this. He showcased his work at Red Earth Festival during its inaugural year and every year up until 1998, when family matters pushed him into the private sector.

Friday's win at Red Earth reinvigorated his comeback plans, he said.

“I see all my artist friends and have met new artists — it's like a big family,” he said. “It's good to be back.”

There is still plenty of time to check out the festivities at the 26th annual Red Earth Festival.

A grand march at noon Sunday will showcase dancers from 75 different Native American tribes, and the finals of the dance competition will be followed by an awards ceremony at 4 p.m.

The art show, youth activities and a food court featuring a menu of authentic tribal foods will also continue through the day at Cox Convention Center, said Eric Oesch, deputy director of Red Earth Inc.

Oesch said he expects the three-day event will draw in 30,000 people from across the world.

“It's unique to Oklahoma because a lot of these dances originated in Oklahoma,” Oesch said. “Not all dancing is traditional; most Indian dancing is contemporary and started in the 1930s and '40s.”

Monique and Willam Bor, of Holland, said the festival was the first stop on their cross-country tour of the United States. They said they were there Saturday to see the competitive dancing.

“The music, the dance — I just love the Indian culture and I don't know why,” Monique Bor said.

Jerry and Carolyn Sink, of Altus, said they've been in Oklahoma for two years and Red Earth was just next on their bucket list.

“I've seen some Cherokee dancing in North Carolina, up in the Cherokee Mountains, but nothing on a grand scale like this,” Jerry Sink said.

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