By Denise Ortuno Neil
The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians 35th Annual Powwow, takes place this Thanksgiving weekend from November 25th through November 27th, at the Fantasy Springs Special Event Center in Indio. The FREE event is fabulous, educational fun for the whole family to enjoy the traditions of this time honored celebration, right here in the Coachella Valley.
Powwows in the past have been predominately in the spring to signify new beginnings, but as time has passed, the celebration has been extended and also takes place at the end of the year to acknowledge the harvest season. Powwows incorporate a multitude of traditions and are significant in the Native American Indian culture. The celebration is also a time for families to have honoring ceremonies and was used in the past for religious purposes as well. The Powwows have held true to their intentions and have even added new ones. In the 1900’s, the event began to allow tribal members from different tribes throughout the United States and Canada to compete for cash prizes.
The event brings tribal members together to dance and sing, maintain friendships and cultivate new ones. All with a strong sense of ancestral respect and heritage. The Powwow attracts thousands of Native American Indian participants and non-Native American Indian participants and spectators from across the United States and Canada, all of whom take part in the three day event.
The Powwow holds a variety of celebratory tournaments that kick off with a Grand Entry, which opens the event utilizing a style of a rodeo procession. The Bird Singers have a semblance to the migratory aspect of the bird world. They sing about life lessons that are weaved through from generation to generation with generous instruction of parenting, highlighting the time when children move from their metaphorical nest and into a world of their own. The singers use the assistance rattles made from gourds and even tortoise filled with seeds as musical accompaniment.
The dance competitions has different dances such as Traditional Dance, Grass Dance and Fancy Dance for the men, and Traditional Dance, Fancy Shawl Dance and the Jingle Dress Dance for women. All the different dances represent different story lines from battles, to hunting. One common thread of the judging of the dancers both male and female, is their ability to have both feet on the ground when the music stops. It is a talent that requires much attention and practice. The dancing offers a beautiful display, with a flurry of spinning colors and language spoken through a physical realm.
The Powwow also offers tribal members the opportunity to sell their goods in the vendor’s area with handmade art, jewelry and other wares. Traditional Native American Indian food as well as other refreshments are also available for purchase.
The Cabazon Band of Mission Indian 35th Annual Powwow at Fantasy Springs is filled with a kaleidoscope of colors, breath taking regalia and intense performances. The celebration will give spectators an appreciation of tribal nations and their traditions. It is an enjoyable and educational event for the whole family right here in the Coachella Valley.
For more information visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com