San Manuel Pow Wow Exhibition 2023 offers preview of upcoming 3-day event

Leticia Juarez Image
Thursday, September 7, 2023
San Manuel Pow Wow Exhibition offers preview of upcoming 3-day event
The San Manuel Pow Wow Exhibition, held at the Yaamava' Theater in Highland, offered a preview of the upcoming three-day event at Cal State San Bernardino.

HIGHLAND, Calif. (KABC) -- A celebration of sacred Native American traditions and culture was on display Wednesday afternoon during the San Manuel Pow Wow Exhibition.

"That's part of our culture is sharing, sharing our songs, sharing our dances," said Glen Begay, the exhibition's master of ceremonies.

Begay introduced attendees at Yaamava' Theater in Highland to the traditional dances and drum songs taking place on stage. The showcase is a lead up to the San Manuel Pow Wow, which will bring different tribal communities together to celebrate their culture and spiritual roots.

"We are still preserving who we are as a Native people, our culture this way of dance. It has been passed down through generations," said Begay.

This year, 800 competitors from across North America will gather to dance, drum and sing dressed in their regalia.

Verna Street performed a fancy shawl dance for those at the exhibit it's the same dance she'll do again at the Pow Wow.

An audit estimates only 6% of CSU's almost 700,000 Native American artifacts and remains have been repatriated.

The former Riverside resident now lives in North Carolina is one of the top competing Pow Wow dancers.

"The San Manuel tribe we saw them develop economically and also traditionally where they continuously give back to their own tribe and other nations by hosting events much like this," said Street.

While the Pow Wow is a time of celebration and reunion, it is also about honoring past traditions and customs passed down from the previous generations.

"All the history that we've learned from four-fathers and our family drum it means something to us to carry this on. It's just an honor," said Kenneth Cozad.

Cozad is one of the singers and drummers in his family's drum group the Cozad Singers out of Oklahoma.

The sneak peak is a small glimpse of the much grander event that will include artisans, food, and other activities for the entire community to enjoy.

The San Manuel Pow Wow is a three-day event that begins Sept. 15 on the Cal State San Bernardino campus. For more information, click on the link.