OCEANSIDE — The 19th annual San Luis Rey Band Pow Wow shared Native American dance, music and food on June 13 and June 14.
Spiritual leader Robert John Knapp (Seneca/Tubotolobol) gave the opening blessing on Saturday.
The grand entry of Native American military veterans, elders and tribes in colorful regalia followed.
Then the Circle Dance invited spectators to join in.
“It’s my favorite part,” Carmen Mojado, of the San Luis Rey Band, said. “Even the little kids and the toddlers (join in).
“The music is the heartbeat of Mother Earth. When I hear the first drum beat, I sigh.”
Next was the tiny tots dance, in which children show off their best steps.
Afterward a candy toss invited all children into the arena, to dance and then collect all the candy they could hold.
Competition dances included Grass, Fancy, Fancy Shawl and Jingle.
The two days of competition are organized by performers’ age and ability level. Dancers compete as soon as they can keep a beat.
“The Fancy dance is war dancers,” Steve Mojado, of the San Luis Rey Band, said. “They wear wonderful regalia. They dance faster and faster. It’s something to see.”
Tribes from California, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico routinely attend the annual event.
Food and handmade goods were sold by a close-knit “family” of vendors throughout the two days. Indian tacos and fry bread were among food favorites.
Knapp said the pow wow is about prayers for Mother Earth.
“We love this land,” Knapp said. “When we come to pray, we pray with our feet, everything.”
Knapp has led peace walks through the United States and Europe. He said the walks are not in protest, but to unite tribes in prayer for Mother Earth.
The staff he held during opening ceremonies has feathers from each state he walked though during the U.S. peace walk.
Knapp will be speaking at the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions in Utah in October. He said his message there will be peace.