Native American Pow Wows evolve with the times

Native American Pow Wows evolve with the times

CABAZON, Calif. - For centuries Native American tribes have gathered for inter-tribal Pow Wows as celebrations of their heritage.

"We've just been brought up with it.  If you notice our little tiny tots that come out, they can barely walk.  And that's how they're brought up," said Gerald Schrock, one of Pow Wow emcees.

This weekend's Pow Wow was hosted by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, but not exclusive to them.

Many different tribes partake in the festivities each year and celebrate one another.

"People don't realize that as a group, almost like a family, we're traveling together, we eat together, we camp together.  We've known each other for years and years, so it's like a big family," Schrock said. 

An estimated 90 percent of Native Americans attend Pow Wows.  But times have changed, and Pow Wows have followed suit. 

"Pow Wows nowadays especially are contest Pow Wows. They're basically social. There's a lot of tradition within the arena, but basically it's a social Pow Wow. 

 The dancing is faster, and more acrobatic, enhanced by now-embellished traditional regalia. 

"Most of the outfits now have the glitter to them, the bright feathers, sequined outfits," Schrock said.

Juaquin Lonelodge  is a dancer from the Arapaho tribe in Oklahoma. He makes all of his regalia by hand.

"It's an older style of artwork that I'm trying to bring back," Lonelodge said.

 One piece takes him fives months to complete, working three or four hours a day.

"It's time consuming," Lonelodge said.

 But for Juaquin, it's all worth it if he can pass along his heritage to the next generation. 

"I want to continue my tradition and pass it on to my daughter," Lonelodge said. 

comments powered by Disqus

Photo Galleries