Annual powwow celebrates Native American history, culture

Annual powwow celebrates Native American history, culture
Women do the fancy shawl dance. All ages join in during the inter-tribal dance. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — The 20th annual San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians Inter-Tribal PowWow at Mission San Luis Rey grounds brought together tribes from Alaska, Hawaii and throughout the U.S. this weekend.

The inter-tribal powwow invites all tribes to attend, and is noted for its intimate family feel.

“Ours is still traditional, we don’t have the big bucks, we don’t bring the big bands, drums and dancers,” said Carmen Mojado, San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians secretary of government relations.

This year’s goal was to make the 20th anniversary celebration the best, and efforts did not fall short.

The powwow celebrated Native American history, culture and spirit with blessings, a spectacular Grand Entry of dancers, dance and drum contests, inter-tribal dancing, arts, crafts and food. The event engulfed all of the senses.

“The gathering of people is such a good feeling,” Mojado said. “Enjoy it with an open mind, listen to the drums, the heartbeat.”

Veterans Gourd Dancing and the Grand Entry procession were held in the morning and early evening on Saturday, and again on Sunday. Both days also brought blessings, thanks and dance contests.

Dancers wore exquisite handmade regalia, adorned with feathers, beadwork and jingles. Competitors ranged in age from young boys and girls to adults.

Last year over 100 tribe members participated. Mojado said more people attend the powwow each year.

The annual powwow is organized by the local San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians, and is traditionally held the second weekend in June. The event continues June 12 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the mission grounds, 4050 Mission Ave.

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