Pow-wow
Native American singing, dancing and drumming was on display Saturday at the 23nd annual Chumash Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow at Live Oak Camp in the Santa Ynez Valley. The biggest cultural event of the year held by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians continues Sunday. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)
  • Native American singing, dancing and drumming was on display Saturday at the 23nd annual Chumash Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow at Live Oak Camp in the Santa Ynez Valley. The biggest cultural event of the year held by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians continues Sunday.
  • An important element of the Chumash Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow is the opportunity for elders to teach the next generation of Native Americans about their heritage and traditions.
  • Not only is the Chumash pow-wow an inter-tribal affair, it’s inter-generational.
  • More than 300 members of tribal nations from the United States and Canada participate in the Chumash pow-wow.
  • Dancing categories include traditional, straight, fancy, grass, jingle dress, buckskin and cloth dancing — accompanied by singing and drumming.

Native American dancers from all over North America showcased drumming, dancing and music during the 23rd annual Chumash Inter-Tribal Pow-Wow at Live Oak Camp in the Santa Ynez Valley on Saturday. The festivities continue Sunday.

The annual ceremony hosted by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians draws more than 300 members of tribal nations from across the United States and Canada.

Dancing categories include traditional, straight, fancy, grass, jingle dress, buckskin and cloth dancing. More than $50,000 in prize money is offered.

The event also offers Native American food and craft booths.

“Our annual pow-wow gives us the opportunity to gather with tribes from throughout North America and honor our Native American heritage,” said Kenneth Kahn, tribal chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

“We’re especially thankful to the elders who attend and teach our next generation of youth about carrying on our Native American traditions.”

The pow-wow got underway with a gourd dance at noon Saturday, followed by a grand entry at 1 p.m., marking the beginning of the pow-wow in which all dancers enter single-file behind flags.

On Sunday, gates open at 10 a.m., with the closing ceremony set for 6 p.m. The free event is open to the public, with parking is $5.

Pay close attention to the Master of Ceremonies, who provides directions for the dancers and the public, and provides information about the songs, competitions and dances. Check with the Master of Ceremonies if you want to take photographs.

The pow-wow is an annual effort of a committee of Chumash tribal volunteers who plan, organize and operate the gathering.

The committee’s goal is to provide the community with educational and cultural experiences focusing on Native American music, arts and customs while also promoting native self-reliance and pride.

Live Oak Camp is located at 4600 Highway 154 near Rancho San Marcos golf course east of Lake Cachuma.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at bholland@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.