On Friday, May 9, through Mother’s Day, May 11, the Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO) and the Stanford Powwow Planning Committee will host the 43rd Annual Stanford Powwow on the Stanford University campus.
In addition to the pow wow, which begins on Friday with a 7 p.m. grand entry, visitors to the Stanford campus can also participate in the 18th Annual Stanford Powwow Run (a 5K race, or one mile youth run) or shop at the Indian market with more than 100 arts and crafts, souvenir, information and food booths.
Dahlton Brown, one of the co-chairs of the pow wow and Bachelor of Arts candidate of Native American studies, is glad to be part of a pow wow that has been running strong for decades. “We are in our 43rd year,” Brown told ICTMN. “Our pow wow began with the formation of the Stanford American Indian Organization, which is responsible for the removal of the Indian mascot in 1971.”
Brown says that part of the reason for success is the support from the university as a whole. “We actually receive a great amount of support from non-native students on campus through volunteer hours worked during the pow wow; and we have some non-native students who are a huge part of the pow wow committee,” he says. “We are a pretty large pow wow, and the greater Bay Area community is a huge part of our attendance. Since the area has such a pan-indigenous culture, we are able to experience a huge array of native culture in a single place.
“Native Students at Stanford are pretty active in making sure pow wows run well each year,” Brown says.
Yaya Campbell, a Native Hawaiian attendee shares Brown’s enthusiasm, “It’s amazing to see what students can do with pow wow.”
“We [also] work closely with the Muwekma Ohlone tribe (federally unrecognized), who are the original inhabitants of this land, to bless the ground on which we have the pow wow,” Brown says.
And since the pow wow always corresponds with Mother’s Day, the participants take time to honor all mothers. “We are sure to have an honor song/intertribal for all mothers in attendance, and those who could not be with us,” he says.
Brown also said that they perform an honor song for graduating Native students. “[It’s] so that attendees can see the students who have worked so hard to make the pow wow a success, while also highlighting the native students who have made it through college.”
An Aztec singing group will perform this year, along with a performance from Kaorihiva, Stanford’s only Polynesian dance group.
Jesse Greyhorse, Dinè, a junior and an Aerospace & Aeronautics major says, “It’s an amazing experience to bring native culture to a diverse place such as Stanford.”
Sarah Sadlier, (Minneconjou) Stanford Powwow’s Publicity Chair and triple major in American Studies, History, and Iberian and Latin American Cultures, says, “The Powwow is a special time for coming together and sharing our cultures with friends, students, and visitors. We are so fortunate to be able to hold the powwow annually on campus. I have been looking forward to this event all year, and I am excited to celebrate it with all of my fellow pow wow committee members! “