Powwow Time - Redbird`s Vision


Powwow Time - Redbird`s Vision
Powwow Time
When American
Indian People
by Corina Roberts
American Indians were the first people to live
here. You may have learned about Indians in
school, but did you know that Indian people
are still here? We are.
Sometimes we are called Native Americans.
In Canada, we are called the First Nations.
All over the country, there are many tribes,
and each of them have their own beliefs, their
own stories, and their own songs and dances.
This is our cultural heritage.
In California, there are Indian people from
many different tribes or nations.
Throughout the year, there are celebrations
and gatherings where native people come
together. Often they are like big family
reunions. Friends and families sing and dance
and eat together. People make new friends,
and learn new dances and new ways to make
These gatherings are very important. They
allow us to keep our culture alive, to teach
our children their traditional ways.
Cameron Justice Soto
Fancy Shawl Dance
Children of Many Colors Powwow
A powwow is a celebration of Indian culture.
Visitors are welcome. There is drumming and
singing, many different styles of dance, arts
and crafts vendors, and sometimes even tipis
and other traditional houses.
At a powwow you will see people wearing
their finest regalia. These are clothing items
that are made by hand. They have colorful
beadwork and beautiful designs. The designs
have meanings. The colors, too, have
Sometimes they are made from the furs,
feathers and skins of animals. Sometimes
they are made from the fibers of plants.
Indian people everywhere used to live as one
with their surroundings. The plants and
animals gave them food. The animals showed
them what plants to eat, and what plants
made good medicine.
When we dance with the furs and feathers of
these animals today, we honor them.
Indian people believe that the Creator gave
everything a spirit. The earth itself is alive.
The earth is often called “Our Mother”
because she gives us everything we need to
The eagle is a bird of great strength. It can
fly very high and it has very good eyes. We
pray with our eagle feathers, so the spirit of
the eagle can lift our prayers high up. We
dance with these feathers to give us strength
and protection.
The deer, the buffalo and the salmon once
gave native people all of the food they
The bear is a powerful animal who knows the
plants, and knew which ones to eat if it was
sick. People watched the bears to learn about
medicines from plants.
The coyote is a very smart animal, but
coyotes can be foolish, too, just like people
are sometimes.
Today, Indian people in California live in
houses, have jobs, drive cars and wear the
same clothes as everyone else.
Before there were big cities, people lived in
many different kinds of houses. They lived in
round houses, square houses, long houses,
and portable houses.
A tipi is a portable house. Once they were
made out of buffalo hides, but today most of
them are made out of canvas. The covering
is held up by poles made from tall, straight
trees called Lodgepole Pines.
The tipi comes from the Plains Indians.
Not all Indians lived in tipis. Native people in
the southwest built whole cities out of adobe.
People on the northwest coast built enormous
log homes.
California Indians built many different styles
of homes depending on where they lived.
At a powwow, there are groups of singers
who sit around a large circular drum. They
sing and drum songs for the people to dance
Some of the songs are very old. Some of the
songs are new. There are fast songs and
slow songs. There are social dance songs.
There are special songs for different styles of
When Indian people from all the different
tribes started gathering to celebrate, they
began creating songs that everyone could
dance to, since there were people from many
different places and different cultures coming
Men and women have their own dance styles.
Some styles of dance are very fast and
energetic. Others are slow and graceful. The
dancers move to the beat of the drum, which
is sometimes called “the heart beat of our
mother” and it is like the beating of your own
heart. If you listen, you will feel that heart
beat in the drum.
To Native American people, dancing is a way
of life. It is a form of prayer. It is a
celebration. It is a way to keep their cultural
heritage alive.
When non-Indian people began coming to
America, they did not understand Indian
people, and sometimes they were afraid of
them. American Indians were not allowed to
dance, sing, pray or speak their own
languages for many years.
Finally, in 1978, Native Americans were
granted the freedom to preserve their
cultures and to practice their spiritual beliefs.
Songs and dances are one way to teach
children about their heritage. Stories help
teach lessons about life and how to relate to
the Earth and to each other.
In this picture, a young girl learns to dance
the Northern Traditional style from her
relatives at the Children of Many Colors
Powwow in 2007.
People all over the world come from different
cultures, and they have their own traditions.
Traditions are things like holidays, spiritual
beliefs, ways of dressing for special occasions,
and ways that we think about the world we
live in.
The dancers on this page are from the
Chumash nation. Chumash people have lived
in California for many thousands of years.
These men, Jim Garcia and Paul Sanchez, are
wearing traditional Chumash regalia. They
are dancing at the Children of Many Colors
Powwow in Moorpark, California, in 2007.
They have painted their bodies with designs
that are sacred to the Chumash people. They
dance a different style of dance than many of
the Indian people you will see at a powwow.
They are dancing Chumash style.
Once a year, Indian people come to Moorpark,
California for a powwow. It is called the
Children of Many Colors Powwow. It takes
place at Moorpark College, and everyone is
Before we dance, a prayer will be said and the
circle where we dance will be blessed by an
elder. When it is time for the powwow to
begin, all of the dancers will come into the
arena together for the Grand Entry.
There is singing, dancing, drumming, food,
arts and crafts booths, tipis, and even special
songs that welcome everyone into the circle.
There will be round dance songs, where
everyone comes out to dance in a great circle,
and intertribal songs, where everyone dances
together in their own style.
Come and dance with us!
American Indian, Native American, First
Nations: the original people of North America
and Canada
Tribe: a group of people who are related to
each other and share the same language,
culture and belief system
Powwow: a celebration of American Indian
people, with singing, dancing, drumming and
ceremonies, which the public is welcome to
Tipi: a portable, circular dwelling, supported
by tall poles made from trees and covered
with skins or canvas
Regalia: the clothing worn by Native
American people when they participate in
gatherings such as powwows
Grand Entry: the opening ceremony of a
powwow, when all the dancers enter the
arena together
Robert Silent Thunder,
Tsalagi (Cherokee) Nation
Redbird’s 2013
Children of Many Colors Powwow
July 19-21, 2013 Moorpark College, 7075 Campus Road, Moorpark, CA 93021
Flute Circle Friday
Powwow Saturday and Sunday
Open Flute Circle Friday evening all north/central/south american/first
nations/island nations indigenous wind
instruments and their players welcome
Head Man - Sam Bear Paw
Intertribal Powwow
Head Woman - Jennifer Jackson
Everyone Welcome
Host Northern Drum _ Wildhorse
All Powwow Drums
Invited Northern Drum - Blue Star
and Dancers Welcome
Host Southern Drum _ Hale and Co.
Invited Southern Drum - Crooked Hat
Arena Director - Victor Chavez
MC - Michael Reifel
Whip Man - Randy Folkes
Flute Performance - Mac Lopez
Story Tellers - Randall Hogue,
Alan Salazar
Suggested Donation
Per Vehicle
Hosted by Redbird, a 501(c)(3)
non profit association
Drugs, Alcohol,
Fire Arms
Allowed on
Friday, July 19
Flute Circle and Potluck 6-10PM
Saturday, July 20
Gourd Dancing 11 AM,
6 PM
Flute Performance by Mac Lopez 5PM
Powwow 12 PM - 10 PM
Sunday July 21
Gourd Dancing, Veteran’s
Honoring 11AM
Powwow 12 PM - 6 PM
Image: Jennifer Jackson
Photo by Joe Peduto
Promoting the awareness and celebration of indigenous cultures and people and creating a
sustainable future
Redbird is a charitable and educational non profit association which received its status as a
501(c)(3) organization in 1994. We have five program areas which focus on Native American
cultural preservation and multi-cultural immersion, and environmental education and action. We
host two annual events, are engaged in two ongoing environmental projects, and are in the
process of restoring the Chilao School property for use as an educational facility. We serve
Native American, multi-ethnic and non native people including but not limited to low income and
challenged families.
Children of Many Colors Powwow
Annual three day event, held the third weekend of July at Moorpark College in Moorpark,
California, the Children of Many Colors Powwow is our signature event, bringing together the
urban Native American community of southern California with visitors from all walks of life in a
friendly environment where cultural preservation and multi-cultural learning and understanding
take place.
Blanket, Toy and School Supplies Drive
Held annually the first Saturday in December in Simi Valley. This one day mini-powwow
generates donations which are shared with reservations in some of the most impoverished
areas of the United States, as well as local families.
Forest Recovery Project,
Pinon Project
This effort, in its fourth year, the Forest Recovery Project documents the recovery of the
Angeles National Forest form the Station Fire and includes educational presentations made
throughout California, focusing on the ecology of fire and our role as environmental stewards.
The Pinon Project is an ongoing effort to restore a viable population of piñon trees to the
Angeles National Forest in areas where they once thrived.
Chilao School
Located in the heart of the Angeles National Forest, the Chilao School is our first land base and
a venue which we are making available to groups in the greater southern California region who
address the underserved, at risk, developmentally and physically challenged, and terminally ill
children. We also wish to be of service to the arts and culture community, including the healing
arts, the educational community including but not limited to fire ecology, and outdoor recreation
programs that include an educational component. The school is an ideal location for a rural
library, particularly since internet access is not available to all forest residents.
Powwow Time – When American Indian People Celebrate © 2008 Corina Roberts
Photo Credits: Front Cover – Tyla Cosentino Simon, Blackfoot, photo by Bruce P. Hamilton
Interior: Cameron Justice Soto by Roderick Fonseca, Teri Lynn Caine, tipis by Corina Roberts,
Chumash dancers by Bruce P. Hamilton, Corina Roberts by Nancy Smith Blackwell, Traditional Dancers,
Navajo girl by Bruce P. Hamilton, Robert Silent Thunder by Corina Roberts, Tyla Cosentino Simon by
Bruce P. Hamilton, digital photo altering by Corina Roberts