Pow Wow Preview

A man participates in a previous Pow Wow at CSULB.

The 47th annual Pow Wow — an American Indian celebration — is this weekend at California State University, Long Beach.

The festivities run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. March 11, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 12, in the upper campus central quad (1250 Bellflower Blvd.)

All people are welcome to attend and participate in the free event, which features dancing, singing, arts, crafts and food from various American Indian cultures.

As one of the oldest and largest spring Pow Wows in Southern California, it has drawn up to 6,000 attendees during its two days, Craig Stone, CSULB American Indian Studies program director, said. It’s student-organized and provided to display the school's strong American Indian presence.

"It's 47 years old for one," Stone said of its importance. "It's become a homecoming... People who grew up in Long Beach come."

He added there's usually a block party where he lives every year in honor of the event.

"It's something that's part of everyone's memory," Stone said. "People come to see their relatives."

Among the new items this year, Stone said those involved in the reburial of artifacts at CSULB last year — the only university to do so — will be honored at 4 p.m. Saturday. Another special event, he said, are singers traveling from the Kiowa and Cheyenne tribes.

"We always have good singers," Stone said. 

On Saturday, events include gourd dancing (11 a.m.); grand entry (1 p.m.); dancer registration closing (2 p.m.); American Indian Student Council Special (4 p.m.); dinner and California Indian preservation (5-6 p.m.); and retiring colors/dance out (10 p.m.).

Sunday's events include gourd dancing (11 a.m.); grand entry (1 p.m.); awards retiring colors and dance out (6 p.m.).

Stone said about 40 vendors will sell traditional foods, including mutton and beef stew, Navajo tacos, Indian burgers, fry bread, traditional and contemporary American Indian art.

"It's kind of a special thing," Stone said of the traditional foods, as few people make them at home these days.

Additionally, it's intertribal, Stone said, with different languages heard throughout the event. 

The event is geared for prospective CSULB applicants, with information on high school/transfer admission processes, support programs and how to pay for college. From 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, March 12, an outreach will be at the hall of science building. 

CSULB's American Indian Studies Department, American Indian Student Council, American Indian Student Services, Student Life and Development, Student Affairs Division, and Associated Students Inc. put on the event. 

Free parking for general attendees is available in lots 1, 3, 14 and 18. Singers, dancers and head staff are advised to follow directional signs to lot 4 or lot 5; vendors park in lot 8.

For more information, visit www.csulb.edu/powwow.

Emily Thornton can be reached at ethornton@gazettes.com

Emily is a staff writer covering higher education and other various topics for Gazette Newspapers. She has a background in weekly and daily newspapers and a bachelor’s in communication from La Sierra University.

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