CSUN Powwow 2011

Christianna Triolo

Despite the high winds that threatened to blow over canopies, dancers entered the dance arena for the 28th Annual American Indian Studies (AIS) Powwow. Usually held in the Orange Grove, this year the powwow was moved across campus to a field next to the Chicano House. The new location allowed for a larger dance arena and more spectator viewing, which was at full capacity by early afternoon. Many who came to watch the dancers were families, who wanted to show their children Native American culture through song and dance.

A wide range of nations were represented, from Apache, to Blackfeet, Tule, and Chumash. Dancers dipped and twirled around the arena in exhibitions of a number of dances including fancy shawl dances, men’s northern traditional, women’s jingle dress dance, and intertribal dances. Dancers and the head staff were paid respect through honor dances that allowed people to enter the arena and shake hands with the dancer’s family and join in the dance behind the dancing honoree.

Students with the American Indian Student Association (AISA) sold raffle tickets for a Pendleton blanket and other prizes donated by vendors. Students also sold snacks, with all money made going to support AISA. Sue’s Frybread stand was on hand selling Indian tacos and honey and powdered sugar covered frybread. Sue’s Frybread also had a new creation for sale, a fry dog, which is a hotdog wrapped in frybread.

Friendly competitions were held for both men and women dancing for prizes. Each head staff dancer handed out gift baskets to each other as a sign of respect and thanks for their hard work and dedication to keeping tradition alive not just inside the arena, but outside as well.