Thunder in the Desert in Tucson

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- While many people rang in the New Year Saturday night with confetti and cocktails, a different kind of celebration's going on in Tucson that involves nearly 200 Indian nations from across the country.

It's called Thunder in the Desert; 10 days, nearly 200 Indian tribes, held every four years in Tucson.

The pow wow includes traditional music, crafts and dancing.

"What I'm wearing is a traditional grass dance outfit with my roach on top made of porcupine and deer," said Luis Valenzuela from the Pasqua Yaqui Tribe.  "My grandmother does all my bead work, my top my pants, my moccasins and everything."

They come from all over.

"We come from Mexico City, Mexico, we are part of the Mexica or Aztec nation," explains an event participant.

Each outfit and song a way to share the Native American culture and ring in the new year in style.

"This is like a new beginning for everyone," said a Mexica dancer.

"It's a whole welcome for everybody and a blessing that everybody will be in good shape, good health and good terms in the next year," said a Thunder in the Desert attendee.

The festival began in 2000 to help Natives move into the new millennium.  This fourth run is expected to be the last.

But after 12 years of traditional dance, song and tribal unity, Natives will have a lot of memories and pride to take with them into the new year.

Thunder in the Desert runs through January 8 at the Rillito Business Park.