By Destiny Guzman |Contributing Writer|
The annual San Manuel Pow Wow kicked off their three-day event here on campus.
This annual event brings together different tribes from all over the U.S. and Canada. Dancers and drummers came together and vendors showed their unique creations and designs of their own culture.
Mario Castellano, a Cahuilla tribal member, attended the event and said, “I go to the pow wows to associate with my other friends, my friends that are from the Cahuilla reservation, some of my other friends from other reservations that are outside of California, but mainly just for the bird singing.”
When asked what bird singing was, Castellano said, “Bird singing is traditional songs that are passed down from generation to generation. They’re like an oral history of our creation. They tell us how to live. They talk about clans. They talk about everything.”
Even though there are many differences among the many tribes, pow wows welcome those differences while uniting everyone.
“From start to finish, you really had the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Native American culture,” said student Shirleena Baggett.
“I really enjoyed the grand entry, which included dancing, singing, and all of the tribes getting together representing their own culture,” added Baggett.
“Even though they were from different tribes, they all came together, and it was really beautiful and harmonious,” concluded Baggett.
This is what makes the San Manuel Pow Wow stand out. It brings awareness about the differences that make up a specific tribe.
“Even though we’re all Native American, were still different,” added Castellano.
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has played a significant role on campus.
They have made donations and contributions to the campus in order to provide students with the means to succeed and learn about different cultures.
The SMSU is one location on campus that is designated as the “social” gathering.
There is a small exhibit and artifacts within the SMSU, which show and inform others about San Manuel’s native culture.
Emily Lopez, a Cahuilla tribal member, said, “When I first started going to the pow wows, I just went to see what they were.”
“It’s more just socializing; It’s a social gathering,” added Lopez.
As this annual pow wow brings people together, the SMSU does the same. It brings students together to socialize and allows them to enjoy each other’s company on their campus.
The San Manuel Pow Wow was held on the back soccer field of the campus, which offers views of the mountains and wide open space. This is needed in order for the dancers and vendors to set up.
“You have the fancy shawl, the grass dance, the jingle. You have all these different dances from different tribes that are traditional and bring each other together,” concluded Castellano.
“Now that I’ve taken classes, I’ve met people who have broken it down for me, and I’ve gotten more comfortable,” concluded Lopez.
Dancing, singing, food, and community are a few of the things that you will find while attending the San Manuel Annual Powwow.
This Pow Wow invites all people from all different backgrounds and nationalities to attend.
SMSU holds the event every year, so if you didn’t get a chance to attend this years, don’t worry because there will be another one next year.