Tribe members dance during the “We Are Still Here” Powwow; the three-day event was celebrated at Fresno State’s Maple Mall from May 4 to May 6, 2018. (Jorge Rodriguez/The Collegian)

Fresno State celebrates 31st annual Powwow

Fresno State celebrated its 31st annual Native American Powwow at Maple Mall in front of the Satellite Student Union from May 4-6. The “We are still here” Powwow was organized by the Fresno State Neum Native American Student Association, and it was free for the public.

The event served as a gathering of tribes from all over the state and the nation to celebrate Native American unity and culture.

Three different drummers were at the event: the northern drum was Young Eagle Creek from Arizona; the southern drum was So-Ex Style from California; and the guest drum was Bearsprings from California.

The Powwow spread to three days. Day 1 opened with the Miwuk dancers. On the second day, a special grand entry was planned along with an introduction and special guest speech by Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro. Aztec dancers performed later in the day.

After his speech, Castro was honored with a dance to bless him. The dance was performed by members of different tribes that attended the event. For the third day of the Powwow, a gourd dance and an entry dance were performed.

Fresno State supported the event with sponsorships from different departments and by providing staff members to help with the event.

There were also several vendors on hand, ranging from clothing to knives to food and drinks. Several arts and crafts booths were also available. A raffle and a dance contest also spanned the three-day event.

President of the Neum Native American Student Association Carmen Esqueda said that they are hoping to continue the Powwow event for the future generations and for them to continue the tradition as years go by.

“Our goal was to introduce our culture to the university community and let them see what we are all about.” Esqueda said. “We hope to put Fresno State on the map with this tradition.”