The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and CSUSB students were brought together on the weekend of Oct. 11 in celebration of the 18th annual San Manuel Pow Wow.
CSUSB has had the privilege of holding the three day event on campus since 2001.
Over a quarter of a million dollars in prizes were distributed amongst the different competitions and the participants ranged from ages 2 to 90.
Native Americans from across North America gathered to celebrate and compete in different categories of song and dance. Some traveled from Canada and Alaska.
Native American vendors offer a wide spread of delectable treats as well as authentic crafts and fine jewelry.
International student Mafuyu Masuhara enjoyed chowing down on a Navajo Taco. “It’s so good,” said Mashara gesturing towards stomach.
“Everything was wonderful. I loved the dancing; it was contagious,” continued Mashara.
Masuhara’s American host family attends the pow wow annually. They
mentioned their appreciation to those who attended and expressed how they’re always thrilled to introduce new students to the event.
Friends Edwin Rivera and Jose Vallejo watched in awe as the dancers paraded around the arena keeping time with the driving force of the drums and the passionate cries of the singers.
Rivera has frequented the Pow Wow the last four years.
“I come back to support the traditions, local culture and to eat Indian fry bread,” said Rivera.
This was Vallejo’s first Pow Wow. “The drums stick out to me as being monumental. I’ll be back.”
The stadium packed full with visitors, most moving along with the beating drums, watch as the dancer’s regalia swirls around the color and sound blending perfectly with the movement.
Doug Jensen enjoyed the cultural aspect of the event, “During the grand entry, when everyone in the arena gave respect to their ancestors and elders was very moving.”
At the start of the Pow Wow the grand entry was lead by the eagle staff followed by the flags held by members of the armed service and an inter-tribal procession of all the dancers.
According to powwow.com the grand entry originally was a parade through the town. The Pow Wow is not common to some tribes.
Graduate assistant for the San Manuel Student Union Cross Cultural Center, Jessica Bracamontes, has helped with the Pow Wow for the last five years.
Not only does Bracamontes enjoy the Pow Wow, she has also made friends along the way.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Bracamontes. “You get to experience a side of Native American culture that you wouldn’t normally.”