Powwow Returns for 22nd Year

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians will celebrate its 22nd annual Thunder and Lightning Powwow starting Friday, Sept. 28. Admission is free for the three-day, family-friendly event, which is expected to attract an estimated 30,000 people.

One of the most anticipated powwows of the year, Morongo’s celebration of American Indian culture is highlighted by a daily Grand Entry. This vibrant parade of color and sound features hundreds of dancers in traditional regalia and dozens of competitive drum groups.

“The Morongo Thunder and Lightning Powwow celebrates the diversity of Native American culture,” said Tribal Chairman Robert Martin of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. “We are delighted every year to see so many visitors and families joining us to experience the beauty of Native American dance and music and to learn about Native American culture, food and arts and crafts.”

Spectators will see dancers representing tribal nations from across the U.S. and Canada as they compete for prize money. Other events include bird singing and guard dancing exhibitions. Native food vendors will be on hand selling Indian tacos, tamales and Indian frybread. Authentic Native arts and crafts including jewelry, beadwork, pottery, clothing and basketry items will be available for purchase from more than 50 artisans.

The bird songs and dances of the Cahuilla Indians chronicle the experiences and responses of the Cahuilla people as they migrated south. Through bird metaphor and allegory, the songs also act as lessons that instruct tribal members about stages in their lives. The original Cahuilla Bird Songs were composed over more than 300 pieces that formed a cycle of stories. Songs were sung in a precise order that accurately accounted for the chronology of the migration.


The Press Enterprise
Published: 21 September 2012 02:57 PM