Saturday, March 3, 2012

Annual Pow Wow returns after controversy

  • The annual Cal State Long Beach Pow Wow will demonstrate the university's strong American Indian presence by celebrating traditions on March 10-11, a year after the controversial article written by the Union Weekly.

The two-day celebration, held in the upper campus quad, will feature American Indian music, dance, food, and arts and crafts.

The event will be held on March 10 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and, on March 11, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

Last year, a review by the Union Weekly drew backlash from the Native American community for comments made by then-campus editor Noah Kelly. The comments included "Indian tacos? What the f--k are Indian tacos?" and "Even the homeless have hats and cups," referring to donations tossed on the ground by onlookers during traditional dance ceremonies.

In the following issue, Kelly offered an apology stating, "What occurred was nothing less than a lapse in fact-finding, cultural awareness and sensitivity on my part."

Anna H. Nazarian-Peters, Student Life and Development coordinator, said that the article written by Kelly should have been printed in the opinions section and not the news section of the paper.

This year, the American Indian Student Council will have a booth with press packets full of information on the Pow Wow.

"[The Pow Wow] is a very family-oriented event," Nazarian-Peters said. "It's a social gathering, it's a dance."

According to Craig Stone, professor of American Indian studies and art, and adviser to the Pow Wow committee, the

American Indian studies program at CSULB is the oldest of its kind west of the Mississippi.

"We are proud of our students who not only excel in their studies but dedicate countless hours to organizing the Pow Wow and other campus events," Stone said.

Food vendors will be selling contemporary and authentic foods, like mutton, Navajo tacos, Indian burgers, beef stew and fry bread.

Gourd dancing, performed by both male and female dancers in a circular arena, will begin at 11 a.m. both days.

For an official schedule of events and additional information, visit the CSULB Pow Wow website at

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