Revisiting Tribal Traditions at Barona Powwow
by Laurie Whitecloud, Tribal Member, Barona Band of Mission Indians
Haawka! On behalf of Barona, I am very excited to take this opportunity to share news about the 40th Annual Barona Powwow.
While many of you know Barona for our world class casino, hotel and golf course, our Tribe — the Barona Band of Mission Indians — is rooted in a history, traditions and culture of which we are very proud.
Planning the Powwow has been a project of love for me and my family, our Tribal leadership and all of the volunteers. So, we hope you will join us this Labor Day weekend, September 3-5, to share in this history and experience unique to Native American heritage.
Powwows, or “gatherings,” have long been important to Native American Tribes across the United States and are believed to date back as far as four hundred years. It is a time for celebration when Tribal members come together to dance, sing, drum and feast.
The Barona Powwow is unique to our people and provides a special opportunity for us to connect or reconnect with fellow Tribes and all of our neighbors throughout the region.
This year marks the 40th year of the Barona Powwow. While the first Powwow on the Barona reservation was held in 1970, it is thought that the idea for our Powwow began in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when a handful of Barona Tribal members belonged to a group called Pacific Coast Indian Club. It was one of the only Powwows in Southern California and was held at the Orange County Fairgrounds.
A group of Tribal members interested in bringing a Powwow to the San Diego region approached the Barona Tribal leadership and asked if there could be a Powwow at Barona. The Tribe agreed and the first Powwow in this region was hosted at the traditional gathering grounds, which is where the Barona Cultural Center & Museum is located today. What began as a modest gathering has grown into a three-day event with over 300 dancers and 10,000 people historically in attendance.
This year is also very special as the 40th anniversary of the Barona Powwow will be memorialized with a special new exhibit at the Barona Museum & Cultural Center. It opens on September 3. It will showcase the photos and stories of Barona Powwow’s past including highlights of the Powwow Princesses, Little Hawk dancers, the differences between southern vs. northern dance styles and the history of this Pan-Indian tradition. Everyone is invited to attend and admission to the museum is free.
If you haven’t had a chance to go to a Powwow yet, I’d strongly encourage you to come out and visit. There is incredible beauty and pageantry on display at the Powwow and it offers an amazing look back into our nation’s history and where it’s headed. Tribal dancers of all ages will be dressed in colorful, traditional regalia featuring decoration such as bustles, buckskin, deerskin and small metallic cones. And, they will compete for more than $60,000 in cash prizes.
In addition to the incredible dancing, you can enjoy Native American singing and drumming. You will also find dozens of vendors selling some our favorite foods such as fry bread and Indian tacos. The Barona people are known for their silver jewelry so turquoise, beadwork and gemstones will also be on display and for sale.
So, if you have plans to visit Barona Resort & Casino on Labor Day weekend, we hope you’ll take some time to stop by the Powwow, get to know the Barona people on a cultural level and join us in the celebration.
For dates, times and other details about the event, please click here to visit the Barona Powwow page.