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25,000 Celebrate Native American Culture at Morongo Powwow

More than 900 competitive dancers and 20 drum groups from across the U.S. and Canada joined with thousands of spectators to experience traditional dances, music, art and food.

Morongo Indian Reservation - More than 25,000 spectators gathered to reaffirm and celebrate Native American cultural traditions at the 29th Annual Morongo Thunder & Lightning Powwow, held Sept. 27-29 at the Morongo Indian Reservation.

One of the most anticipated powwows of the year, the annual three-day gathering hosted by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians attracted more than 900 Native American dancers and 20 professional drum groups from across the U.S. and Canada.

Throughout the weekend, dancers wearing intricate, handmade regalia of supple leather, fine beadwork and brightly-colored feathers competed in a variety of events that showcased different Native American dance styles and music.

“The Morongo Thunder and Lightning Powwow celebrates the diversity of Native American culture while helping to preserve our traditions and heritage,” said Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin. “Every year, we look forward to welcoming so many families from across the region to experience Native American dance, music, food and art.”

More than 75 vendors took part in the Morongo powwow’s annual Indian Market, selling authentic Native jewelry, expert beadwork, pottery, clothing, and basketry. Native food vendors served up delicious foods such as Indian tacos and tasty Indian frybread.

As the highlight of each day, the spectacular Grand Entry drew hundreds of dancers wearing traditional regalia into the powwow arena where they danced together as competitive drum groups and singers performed. The remarkable display of music and motion transformed the arena as hundreds of men, women and children crowded the floor to dance.

The powwow also featured bird singing and peon games, which are the traditional songs and games of Morongo and other tribes in Southern California

The 29th Annual Morongo Thunder & Lightning Powwow took place in the Morongo Outdoor Pavilion, located beside the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa.