San Manuel Band of Mission Indians: Powwow 2012 unites the community through dance

Photos by Pat Mahoney - Native Americans from tribes throughout the nation participate in the Grand Entry Saturday at California State University San Bernardino. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians sponsored the three-day Pow Wow celebrating the 17th annual festival with music, dance, crafts and food.

The best Native American dancers, drum groups and artisans from across North America will gather at San Manuel Stadium in downtown San Bernardino the weekend of Dec. 13 to celebrate their culture and spiritual roots at the 24th annual San Manuel Pow Wow. Dancers and drummers will compete for over $250,000 in prizes in a unique showcase of Native American culture.

The weekend-long celebration was rescheduled from its customary October dates due to severe weather and will now begin the evening of Friday, Dec. 13, and will run through the evening of Sunday, Dec. 15.

In addition to competitive dancing, the event will feature contests for tiny tots, juniors and teens, as well as audience participation dancing open to all attendees.

Guest can also participate in the Cruz Chacon Memorial Sweetheart Dance.

Non-competitive exhibitions include tributes to veterans, blessings and intertribal dancing and Bird Singing, which is Native American music indigenous to Southern California and the Colorado River Region.

The 3-day event is free and open to the public.

Friday’s events will run from 5p.m. to midnight with the grand entry of music and dance competitors at 8 p.m. Saturday events run from 11 a.m. to midnight and grand entry is at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. On Sunday the powwow will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with grand entry at 1 p.m.

San Manuel Stadium is at 280 S. E St., San Bernardino, and all the powwow activities will take place within the stadium and parking lot.

For more information, visit or call (909) 425-3450.

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