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By Miriam Raftery

September 3, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) – Thousands of tribal members from across the United States as well as many local participants and spectators are expected to flock to the Barona and Syucan reservations in East County during the first two weekends in September.

Native American dancers, drummers and bird singers compete for prize money at the traditional celebrations, which are free and open to the public. These events provide opportunities for the public to learn more about our tribal neighbors’ rich culture and heritage.


Highlights of each pow-wow include a grand entry, or honorary processional, led by a tribal leader carrying an eagle staff (photo) followed by costumed dancers such as gourd dancers, men's traditional, men's grass dancers, men's fancy, women's traditional, women's Jingle, and women's fancy dancers.  Children are also included in the competitions and festivities. 


Each dance reflects a specific purpose; for example, grass dancing originated as a means of stamping down grasses to create a flat area for pow-wow grounds. Dancers wore braided sweetgrass.  Men's traditional dance originated when warriors would return home and reenact higlights of battles festooned in quills, beads, and a bustle of eagle feathers (photo). 

Native American jewelry and handicrafts, such as carved gourds (photo) and Indian flutes, will be offered by vendors at the pow-wows. Foods and beverages can also be purchased, including Native American fare such as Indian fry bread.

The events will be held outdoors at tribal pow-wow grounds. Temperatures have topped 100 degrees in recent days, so dress cool, bring or buy water, and consider visiting during the evening hours if heat is a concern. Below are details on the Barona and Sycuan pow-wow events.


Friday–Sunday, September 4 - 6
Barona Baseball Field
Barona Indian Reservation,
1095 Barona Road, Lakeside


Events begin at 6 p.m. on Friday and at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information on scheduled events, visit or call the Barona tribal office at (619) 443-6612, ext. 120.



Friday-Sunday, Sesptember 11-13
Sycuan Pow-wow grounds adjacent to Sycuan Casino
5459 Sycuan Road, El Cajon


Events begin at 4 p.m. on Friday and at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, including a full schedule of events and directions, visit

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