San Diego State Pow wow 2013

By Roy Cook

Inspiring and innovative are my best reactions to the 42nd Annual Native American cultural gathering. This event was held on the Women’s soccer field April 6 & 7, 2013. The pow wow and Matayum was well attended by the returning spring break students and attendees from Los Angeles, Agua Calente, all parts of Arizona and local Kumeyaay and Cahuilla band members.


Saturday began patriotically with the Gourd Dance. Many participants are military and combat veterans of many of the USA conflicts and theaters of operation. Emcee Mr. Randy Edmonds, SCAIR Senior Advisor, presented informative commentary for many of the special aspects of the Kiowa Gourd Dance society regalia and protocol.

Next the grand entry of all the Dancers in spectacular outfits was led in by the American Indian Warriors Association Honor Color Guard. Mr. Wilbur Solomon, Omaha and US Navy retired veteran brought in the Navy flag.

There were many outstanding inter-tribal songs sung by the host and visitor drums and were well appreciated by many of the dancers. The dancers had a chance to loosen up and work out their particular dance moves. There were scheduled contest category of female, male, youth and other dance sponsored specials for all to enjoy. The San Diego Soaring Eagles were there in strong support of this annual SDSU event. After the supper break there was a second grand entry and lights available for early dusk contests and final events.

Sunday was dedicated to the local Southern California Tribal culture song and dance tradition. Often referred in general terms as ‘Bird songs’ in reality there are 12 to 14 variations on this song style. The first group was the Aukas singing Wildcat songs led by Juan Meza Cuero. Next a group from San Pasqual singers was led by premier Bird singer Larry Hammond. SDSU graduate, Ral Christman from the Viejas band led a marvelous group of youth from Mattaguay and other areas. This continuity of culture in action is very inspiring and holds the promise of hope for tribal custom and tradition. The Wildcat singers sang a second set of Tipai Gato songs. Then they were followed by a dynamic row of singers and dancers form Agua Caliente, Palm Springs, singing Cahuilla Bird songs in a long set of hot Bird songs with dancers.

Our compliments to the pow wow coordinator, Richard Decrane and the officials and faculty of the San Diego State American Indian Studies department.