San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec




San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

SDSU hosts 51st annual Pow Wow

The event was held to bring recognition and honor to Native American communities
Little+Miss+Kumeyaay+Nation%2C+Miss+Kumeyaay+Nation%2C+and+the+Sycuan+Pow+Wow+Princess+for+2023+stand+as+representatives+of+their+tribes+at+the+2023+SDSU+Pow+Wow+on+Saturday%2C+April+8.
Photo by Corinne Davidson
Little Miss Kumeyaay Nation, Miss Kumeyaay Nation, and the Sycuan Pow Wow Princess for 2023 stand as representatives of their tribes at the 2023 SDSU Pow Wow on Saturday, April 8.

Last Saturday, April 8, San Diego State University held a Pow Wow to honor and recognize Native American Communities and First Nation tribes around the United States. This was the 51st annual event by SDSU. During the celebration, Indigenous people came together and shared their traditions and rituals with the San Diego community. 

Indigenous community members and supporters came together to celebrate Native American culture at SDSU’s 51st annual Pow Wow, held on Saturday, April 8. (Photo by Jazlyn Dieguez)

Native American artwork was displayed, children danced to tribal Pow Wow drums, women wove traditional baskets and Indigenous people walked around draped in feathered headgear and colorful regalia which are traditional garments used for ceremonial purposes. Outside the event, traditional fry bread was sold along with Indian street tacos. 

The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Native Americans honor their ancestral roots by performing bird songs that tell the origin story of their unceded lands at the 2023 SDSU Pow Wow on Saturday, April 8. (Photo by Jazlyn Dieguez)

During the grand entry, the Head Staff was introduced along with other important members. The Gourd Dance was also performed which is a dance that honors warriors and veterans. Once the ceremonial dances began, people watching were captivated. Native American men sung songs in their native tongue while indigenous people from all ages and backgrounds danced to the traditional Pow Wow drums. Children as young as five years old danced in sync with other members and laughed as they competed in a dance contest. 

Kiara Love Flores, from the Pala Reservation said that she dances three styles, but for this event she danced Jingle Dress and Bird Dancing. 

Flores said, “Pow Wow dancing is healing for me. I enjoy being around the Pow Wow family I grew up around, and it’s such an honor to be hosted as Head Woman for this year’s Pow Wow.”

Native American community members attend the 51st annual Pow Wow in traditional garments, such as feathered headgear and colorful regalia. Attendees were also able to partake in traditional ceremonies, such as the Bird Singing event. (Photo by Jazlyn Dieguez)

Each booth at the event had variations of handmade jewelry by different Native American artists. One of the sellers collected jewelry and Navajo carvings from different artists to support them and mentioned how he wanted to show how unique Native American art can be. 

At the very end of the day, the 2022-2023 Miss Sycuan Pow Wow Princess, Marlyce Howard, participated in a Bird Singing dance where sage was burnt and Native American men sang. Through this ritual, the story of the creation and lessons learned were told. Young women dressed in beautiful traditional attire came together to perform in unity. 

“It is an honor to be here at this event and that SDSU is able to hold Pow Wows even after the whole boarding school system that was against Native Americans,” Howard said.

Pow Wows are a unity of the indigenous communities and an educational experience for those who don’t know much about the Native American culture. Not only is it one of deep history and tradition, but it is one that is still very alive today. 

About the Contributor
Michelle Armas, Staff Writer
Michelle Armas is a Journalism major with a love for storytelling. She was born in Los Angeles, California, but moved to San Diego when she was 10. She is a News, Arts & Culture, and Opinions writer for The Daily Aztec and enjoys every moment of debuting as a journalist. She is part of the Society of Professional Journalists and serves as the secretary of The National Association of Hispanic Journalists on campus. In the academic year of 2022/23, she co-hosted a radio talk show with two other students where they talked about current events and played their favorite music. With her deep curiosity for the world, Michelle hopes to combine different forms of media to share obscure stories of the world creatively.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
SDSU hosts 51st annual Pow Wow