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Pow Wow Returns to Cal State Long Beach For Its 50th Anniversary

Two people walk on a tree-lined concrete plaza. A fountain with three water elements that have stems leading up to round tops are behind them, and in the background is a large blue pyramid.
Cal State Long Beach.
(Patrick T. Fallon
FP via Getty Images)
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A celebration for Native Americans across the country, the Puvunga Pow Wow, is returning to California Sate University Long Beach after a hiatus due to COVID-19. The celebration will hold ceremonies to remember and heal from those lost.

Why it matters

The celebration is back after a three year hiatus due to the pandemic. One of the themes of the gathering is to highlight that health inequalities exist in the American Indian community where the average lifespan is 65 years — compared to the U.S. average of 77.

The celebration is known as the Puvungna Pow Wow, named after the Tongva village that once stood where the CSULB campus stands now.

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Impact of COVID

According to Craig Stone, the director of the American Indian Studies program, they willingly canceled the Pow Wow in 2020 because "when you lose an elder, it's like losing a library." Now that the celebration is returning, their first priority is to heal and the second is be celebrate life.

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Who is attending?

Organizers expect attendees in the thousand from across the country, many of whom are former students. In the past people have come from as far as Michigan and Canada. In 2019, over 6,000 people attended.

What to expect at this Pow Wow?

It is a big extended family reunion in many ways.
— Craig Stone, Director of American Indian Studies at Cal State Long Beach

This Pow Wow features American Indian dancing, arts, crafts and food.

You can also expect:

  • Contests and inter-tribal dancing, and Gourd dancing
  • Native foods, including mutton and beef stew, Navajo tacos, fry bread and Indian burgers.
  • American Indian vendors will be selling both traditional and contemporary American Indian art

The backstory

The CSULB Pow Wow has been held since 1969. The land is considered the birth of the Tongva people. In the 1970s, a Tongva man was excavated on the campus, and shortly afterwards, the American Indian program was established. It is the oldest program of its kind in the Cal State system.

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When and where

March 11 - 12
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday
Location: Upper Quad Campus: Cal State Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd. Long Beach
Parking: Free, follow directional signs to park in General Lots. Dancers, Singers, and Head Staff

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