Powwow at Fantasy Springs Resort casino spa

December and Ontaria Arrowwhite
Story and photos by Pat Krause
Story and photos by Pat Krause

Fantasy Springs Resort casino spa hosted the annual Cabazon Band of Mission Indians Powwow that is usually held on Thanksgiving weekend. The Powwow was held in the Special Events Center in Indio at Fantasy Springs on Nov. 29th, 30th and Dec. 1st. The Powwow has been going on for 32 years and continues to bring tribes from all over the US and Canada. The Powwow is a contest for dancers and drummers.

Entrants vie for prizes in many categories that include each age from small children to the elderly. There are feather dancers that twirl around so there streamers just fly around them. Ladies do a shawl dance and a Jingle dance where the bells on their dresses jingle loudly when they dance and lightly when they walk. The children are a delight to watch as they start them very young to the dance. Many are couples that dance together and dance in the grand parade.

The grand parade is held each day where flags are flown and prayers are said. A special indian song is sung and all the entrants or tribal members come on the dance floor to celebrate the grand parade. The Drummers are sometimes in costume and they beat the drums for songs and are the music from one generation to another. Each tribe has its own style of costume.

The Grand Parade is a way to start the day with the introductions of the princesses of each tribe. Tribal dignitaries and guests speak to the crowd. Congressman Raul Ruiz spoke to the entrants at the Sat. night Powwow and said how happy he was to be able to be part of this Powwow.

Vendors filled the entrance to the Powwow area and sold handmade Indian items, Jewelry, blankets and trinkets. A food court was at the back of the Special Events Center that sold traditional and Indian type foods. A favorite is always the fry breads. Powwows gives non-indians a look into the culture of the tribes and gaze at the fabulous costumes and marvel of their dancing abilities.