A weekend of Native American dancing, singing and drumming is in store at the Live Oak Campground in Santa Ynez. The 17th annual Chumash Intertribal Powwow will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7.

This year’s theme is “Kiyusk’ Al — We Are Strong.”

A gourd dance will kick off the Powwow at noon Saturday. The grand entry is scheduled for noon Sunday.

The Powwow is the largest cultural event of the year held by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

“Our Powwow every year gives us the chance to share our Chumash heritage with tribal people from around the country and with the general public,” said Vincent Armenta, tribal chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “We’re grateful that we’ve been able to host this cultural and educational event for 17 years.”

 The Chumash Intertribal Powwow draws members of tribal nations from across the United States to participate in dancing and drumming competitions. Dancing categories include traditional, straight, fancy and grass dancing. More than $45,000 in prize money will be offered. 

There also will be Native American food and crafts booths.

The Powwow is an annual effort of a committee of Chumash tribal volunteers who plan, organize and operate the two-day gathering. Dominica Valencia and Elaine Schneider are the co-chairs of this year’s committee. Other members include: Charlie Centeno, Jacy Romero, William Wyatt, Pita Macias, Gina Mosqueda-Lucas, Eva Pagaling, Nakia Zavalla, Lisa Romero, Aileena Diaz, Darlene Athie, Raymond Padilla, Adelina Alva-Padilla, John Schneider, Carmen Sandoval and Virginia Ortega.

Powwows didn’t originate in California. But the Chumash and other tribes in the state have gathered to sing, dance, socialize and heal through the years. The Chumash in the 1960s first opened one of its Powwow gatherings to the public as part of a fundraising campaign to bring running water to the Santa Ynez Reservation.

The committee’s goal is to provide the community with educational and cultural experiences focusing on Native American music, arts and customs while promoting native self-reliance and pride.

It will be a zero-waste event, in keeping with the tribe’s commitment to be environmental stewards.

Live Oak Campground is at 4650 Highway 154 in Santa Ynez. Admission is free. Parking costs $5. The camping fee is $25. 

For more information on the Powwow, call 688-7997.


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