We welcome all newcomers and returning friends to visit and camp with us at Red Vally during the Sundance. Bellow you will find information on how you can help during the week and what you can do in your camp to maintain our mission and facilitate a peaceful dance.  We also encourage people to stay after the dance to help with clean up and breaking down camp. 

Fire Keeper Help

For some the ceremony begins when the fire is lit. During the duration of the ceremony, come rain or shine the fire down by the arbor must never go out. We have a fire keeper and their helpers to maintain the fire and watch it 24/7. 

As an assistant to the Fire Keeper you are expected to feed the fire, prep rocks for sundancer sweats, gather coals for cedar carriers, chop and maintain the wood pile. Fire helpers work in shifts with a sign up board located down by the fire keeper shelter. 

If you are interested in helping with fire ask for Adam the Fire Chief when emailing or come forward during the daily purification meetings. 


Cedar Carrier

Cedar is necessary at all four directional gates from before the dancers enter to begin the round till the last dancer leaves the west gate, closing that round. The sacred plant purifies and protects the dancers during the round. Somites special cedar is needed between rounds or to purify supporters before they enter the arbor. 

As a Cedar Carrier you are expected to stay close to the arbor and be ready with coals and a bag of cedar when the eagle whistle is blown to announce the beginning of a round. You will stand next to one of the four directional gates of your choice and provide a continual flow of cedar smoke for the round.  We also need help prior to the dance starting with stripping cedar. 

If you are interested in helping with cedar find your way down to the fire area and ask for the person in charge of Cedar or come forward during the daily purification meetings. 


Feeding the community is a pleasure and honor. Once the dance begins we feed camp twice a day at breakfast and dinner for community meals. On the last day of the dance we have a feast that is often the largest day of attendance.  

In the kitchen you may be asked to help prep, cook, serve, set tables and clean after meals. 

If you are interested in helping in the kitchen contact John Pruit at  or come forward during the daily purification meetings. 

The kitchen does an outstanding job every year in insuring that vegan and or vegetarian options are available along with fresh fruits and salads. However, if you have special dietary restrictions, please be responsible for yourself and bring food that you know is appropriate for your needs. please do not solely rely on the kitchen for your full dietary needs.  

In your camp

Although our guiding rules are minimal (EXPLAINED HERE) please consider the following when packing and maintaining your camp site. 

  • Keep the grounds unmolested and beautiful.

We often need help with weeding and leveling ceremonial grounds (one more way to help!), however be mindful of your campsite. Red Vally is a delicate ecosystem so consider where you place your tent or park your car. Pack it in and pack it out. Red Vally can also be very windy in July, keep a tight lid on trash and clothing that can be blown away. 

  • Provide your own ice & water.

Red Vally is located in the desert. Bring enough water and ice for your camp. The Red Vally Trading post sells both. 

  • We now recycle plastic and cans!

Separate your recyclables at your camp and bring them to the designated recycling  bins located in the kitchen. 

  • We also now compost!

All compost will go to Yéego Gardening located at DREAM DINÉ, a public charter school dedicated to creating indigenous-centered educational program, aligned with the Common Core State Standards in Shiprock, NM. Yéego gardening is a community garden created in collaboration with the students of Dream Diné to improve access to fresh vegetables, and improve health and well-being of the community of Shiprock.   A designated composting bin will be located at the kitchen. The following is OK TO COMPOST: Fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds & filters, tea bags, nut shellls, paper, yard trimming, leaves, grass clippings.  DO NOT COMPOST THE FOLLOWING: meat or fish bones & scraps, dairy products, fats / grease / lard or oils, pet waste, yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides. 

  • Bring your own serving wear to community meals.

If you bring your own plates, bowls, cups, and silverware then that means less Styrofoam for the kitchen to buy and less trash. You will be responsible for cleaning your wears back at camp.

  • If you are a trained medical professional please inform us.

Let Howard Bad Hand, John Pruit or Karen Peregoy know. Although we have never had a medical emergency it is good to have that information on hand. 

  • Rattle snakes can be found in or around camp.

If you can, avoid killing the snakes and relocate them well outside of camp grounds. Ask for help if needed. 

  • Mindful of others.

There is no crew-few however keep in mind once the dance starts a lot of people are getting less sleep then the recommended average. Some people get up at 4am, other people stay up all night watching the fire and sleep during the day. Everyone is working hard to facilitate a peaceful dance. Be mindful of your neighbors. 

  • Secure your camp.

Take preventative measure and secure all valuables within your camp. Have someone stay at your camp or a way to lock up your belongings. Keep valuables tucked away and be aware that camp grows exponentially as the dance progresses. Volunteer security will make rounds during the days. If you are interested in helping with security contact us at or come forward during the daily purification meetings. 

  • Stay after to help clean.

Once the dance is finished, taking down and cleaning camp is a final task we ask for help with. Tipis, sweat loges, trash, and various tools all need to be packed away and stored till next time. The tree also needs to be taken down, cut, and taken care of before dancers leave. Please remeber your ropes if you danced with them.