Over 1000 people gathered around drum circles and traditional dancers in the Pavilion on Saturday for the 37th annual UC Davis Powwow. The event, presented by the Native American Student Union (NASU) attracted an estimated 1,300 guests during the course of the daylong event.
“Our culture is important,” said Larsky, a member of the Colville tribe in Washington. “Without our culture, we’re a dying breed.“
Larsky, like many of those in attendance, was wearing his traditional regalia of brightly colored garments, buckskins and feathers. Many others wore jingles on their outfits, creating a harmony of bells amid the thunderous drumbeats and vocables.
Organizers estimated that there were approximately 40 different tribes from all over the U.S. at the powwow on Saturday, which ran from 10 a.m. to midnight.
The day began with a ceremonial gourd dance, followed by the grand entrance. The traditional dances were accompanied by drum hosts Northern Eagle and Southern Express. In between various competitive dances, individuals partook in free-spirited intertribal dances with members from the participating tribes.
The powwow also offered a craft area and booths for vendors, who sold Native American art, clothing and food.
“Our powwow is the most traditional event that’s open to the public,” said chair of the powwow committee April Negrette. “This is sacred ground, and we’ve all left our negative energy out.”
Negrette, a member of the Shoshone-Paiute tribe and sophomore wildlife, fish and conservation biology major and Native American studies minor, said that events such as this help to give recognition to the small population of Native American students on campus. She estimated that there are about 186 self-identified Native Americans, a small number of which get involved with NASU.
The event was funded by a variety of individuals and organizations such as ASUCD, the tribes who attended the event, vendors and the NASU, which held fundraisers to support the powwow.
– Text by Lauren Steussy