California State University, Long Beach March 6, 2003


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. News  

CSULB Pow Wow returns for 33rd year this weekend

By Maritza Diaz

On-line Forty-Niner

 American Indian art and dance will be celebrated this weekend as the 33rd annual Pow Wow comes to Cal State Long Beach.
A powwow is a gathering of American Indian artists, dancers, singers, their families and the public to celebrate the culture, said Craig Stone, CSULB professor and advisor to the event.
The goal of the event is to show the strong American Indian presence at CSULB, which is located on the sacred ground of Puvungna, a Tongva village site. Puvungna has been translated to mean the “Gathering Place” and the “Place from which all stems,” according to the American Indian Student Council.
The event, which will take place on the upper quad, will include American Indian vendors selling traditional and contemporary art, and American Indian food such as Navajo Tacos, corn soup, and buffalo burgers.
The CSULB Pow Wow will also include contests, inter-tribal dancing and hand drum contests.
“Powwows are different depending on where they take place. This powwow is a blending of many different powwow styles from the United States and Canada. We have incorporated many aspects of other powwows to our powwow,” Anna Nazarian-Peters, adviser to the American Indian Student Council, said.
About 6,000 people come to the event each year and a large turn out is expected this year as well, Stone said.
“We have people coming from Arizona, North Dakota and Canada,” Nazarian said.
The event is expected to have many singing groups and contest dancers that will be presenting different dance styles.
The event is sponsored by various organizations on campus and is being put together by faculty and students from the American Indian studies department.
“It is amazing to think that the students and staff at CSULB have been organizing this celebration for 33 years,” Stone said.
The CSULB Pow Wow is the largest spring powwow in Southern California. The main focus of the event this year is the competition dancing. This year’s gathering is dedicated to champion fancy dancer, Shane Dean Zotigh, who was killed last summer while trying to save a friend’s life this past summer, said Stone.
Members from the Sioux, Chumash, Assiniboine and many more tribes are part of the head staff this year. The event begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday with the Gourd Dancing ceremony, and continue with other events until 10 p.m. The activities on Saturday are limited to two events.
“While 33 years of gathering at CSULB makes us one of the oldest powwows in Southern California, we are always conscious that we continue in a tradition of Native American gathering here at Puvungna,” Stone said.
Stone describes the event as a sort of homecoming for American Indian alumni of CSULB and their families.


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