Southwestern College Holds First Powwow and Expands Indigenous Studies Program

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Danielle Bartelli Oldfield
March 23, 2024

On February 24, Southwestern College held its first powwow on the college’s soccer field. Months of planning resulted in a well-attended event, which was fun for all who participated. As one of the earlier powwows of the season, spirits ran high, and those performing and spectating were ready to hear the drums and seethe dancers. The Kumeyaay Bird Singers and Gourd Dancers began the day. Many veteran participants were seen falling into their familiar roles. If key organizer Asst. Professor David Solomon’s goal was to “bring joy to the community”, his goal was met.

Food vendors and arts and craft vendors were busy satisfying customers as the announcing, speaking, drumming, and dancing took place. The Host Northern Drum was Green River, and the Host Southern Drum was Shakey Town. Arena Director Victor Chavez kept things moving, and before long, the circle was full of energetic dancers, both young and old. The weather cooperated, and the grounds were full of people celebrating the event.

Solomon credits the success to a strong head staff and those on campus and beyond who helped with this inaugural event. “We at Southwestern College want to let the Native American community know that the campus is a welcoming place for Native students of all ages.”

The college is expanding its Indigenous Studies program to include their first Native American History course in the fall of 2024. Native students and those interested in learning Native Studies will have more options for learning, particularly if told from an Indigenous perspective.

If this successful event is any indication of interest, those who choose to attend the program will benefit from the rich knowledge and resources in our community. When thanking those who helped make it possible, Asst. Professor Solomon wanted to thank Carla Tourville, Chuck Cadotte, Dr. Guadalupe Corona, Carla Sevilla, Brenda Mora, Sofia Salgado Robitaille, Lucia Napolez, Erica McGarry, Benito Pastrana Ruiz and all the staff and faculty at Southwestern College for their help and support of this first powwow. We look forward to the expansion of the Native Studies program and a continuation of this powwow tradition on campus.