Sycuan Powwow showcases Native American culture

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The drumming and haunting chants of men in native song, the swirl of color, feathers and beads of Native American dance was all part of the thrill at the 28th Annual Sycuan Powwow on the Sycuan reservation near the casino. The annual powwow, which took place this year Sept. 8 – 10, is a source of pride for the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

The drumming and haunting chants of men in native song, the swirl of color, feathers and beads of Native American dance was all part of the thrill at the 28th Annual Sycuan Powwow on the Sycuan reservation near the casino. The annual powwow, which took place this year Sept. 8 – 10, is a source of pride for the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

Everyone from all walks of life was invited to the powwow in a celebration of American Indian culture. All weekend long, boys and girls, men and women drummed and danced, sang bird songs and played peon games. Each day of the powwow featured a Grand Entry, an honorary procession of flags and dancers.

Over $125K in prize money went to the contestants.

Vendors at the powwow sold authentic Native American cuisine, including the favorite Indian Fry Bread Taco. There were dozens of booths filled with intricate beaded jewelry as well as arts and crafts of all kinds. 

The Sycuan Powwow is one of hundreds of similar events held across the United States. Indeed, the powwow is a singularly American  

The word powwow emerged from the American Indian word “pauwau,” which means spiritual leader. When European explorers in the 1800’s observed a religious ceremony of the native Americans, they erroneously called it a pow-wow, thereby influencing all non-native Americans to call a powwow any gathering of any kind of the Indians. As time went on, Native Americans themselves used the term, especially as they began to learn more English.

How the powwow originated has several different stories. Some believe that the war dance societies of the Ponca and other Southern Plains tribes gave the powwow its start. Research indicates that the powwow dance originates back to the Omaha tribe nearly four hundred years ago. 

No matter its origins, the Sycuan Powwow, like others across North America, retain its heritage while moving ahead with the times. 

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