Cuyamaca’s 4th annual powwow

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“We do not say their name for a year,” said Stanley Rodriguez with the Santa Ysabel Tribal Band of the Lipay Nation in San Diego County. Rodriguez addressed the loss of one of their members adding, “We do not want to pull them back from their journey.” 

Several changes in the line-up were affected by passings at Cuyamaca College’s 4th Annual Powwow held Feb. 3. 

“We do not say their name for a year,” said Stanley Rodriguez with the Santa Ysabel Tribal Band of the Lipay Nation in San Diego County. Rodriguez addressed the loss of one of their members adding, “We do not want to pull them back from their journey.” 

Several changes in the line-up were affected by passings at Cuyamaca College’s 4th Annual Powwow held Feb. 3. 

“This means a lot to me,” said arena director and member of the Navajo and Crow tribes Richard DeCrane. “It’s (powwow) about getting our culture heard. It’s a learning process to bring all our cultures together. Our kids are getting western educations, but this provides an education about our culture.”

The Native American Student Alliance, or NASA, at Cuyamaca College, is a student organization whose purpose is to promote tribal heritage and to educate others through activities and educational opportunities. 

The powwow started off with a blessing where Chuck Cadotte circled the perimeter of the arena and used the burning sage to bless the performance area. Master of ceremonies, Ral Christman Sr., a member of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, introduced the events after the blessings with the bird singers, gourd dancers, and grand entry. The event also had an invocation with a flag and victory song, inter-tribal dances, a dinner break, another set of gourd dancers, dance out/retire colors, and the end of the powwow.

Dutch-born-world-travelers, Mary and Wietse Haak, used a national registry of powwows to find out about the Cuyamaca College powwow. They have visited other powwows with Mary saying, “The traditions, their way of life, I always feel very humble here.” 

El Cajon resident, Ronnie Murphy, a decorated Vietnam veteran and member of the American Indian Warrior Association of San Diego, CA, and a performer at the powwow had members of the American Legion Post #303 show up to support him. Post member, Wes Scherman, said, “We are here to support Ronnie and all Native American veterans in East County.”

Christman said Green River Singers, the Host Northern Drum fresh off a world tour, were on hand to provide drumming for the event as well as Hale & Company. Chuck Cadotte was the head man and head woman was Raelynn Bichitty. Head boy was Daniel Camacho and head girl was Zoe Camacho.

Fry bread and other foods were available for the attendees as well as vendors selling Indian jewelry, moccasins, dream catchers, blankets and more. 

Organizations such as SCAIR, California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc. and the Kumeyaay Community College were exhibitors. Kumeyaay Community College was still enrolling for classes such as Kumeyaay Humanities taught by Larry Banegas. In the fall of 2016 Cuyamaca College offered an associates degree in Kumeyaay Studies, which focuses on the language, culture and history of the Kumeyaay tribe.