Native American Tribal Celebrations – Celebrating America

Native American Tribal Celebrations – Celebrating America July 2023

Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Events & Celebrations

All societies have their rituals, festivals and celebrations. The more varied the celebrations, the more inclusive the society. The U.S. may be a modern superpower and an economic giant, but it is still a comparatively young nation when compared to countries whose histories date back thousands of years. At least, that is the general presumption. The truth, however, is quite different. The history of America dates back thousands of years. Today, we know that the first human occupants of the land came here from Asia before recorded history began. In the millennia after their arrival, they developed sophisticated societies and cultures, and vibrant forms of celebration that are as old as any that are to be found anywhere else on the planet.

Reasons to Celebrate

The U.S. is often referred to as a land of immigrants which is why there are so many celebrations and festivals of so many cultures every year in this country.The famous words on the Statue of Liberty say it all“Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Famous words, but what about those who were in the country long before the statue was thought of? What about the people who lived here for thousands of years before the rest of the world even knew about the existence of the Americas? They too had their celebrations, and understanding what they are, will add to the diversity that we enjoy today.

The Pow Wow

The term “Pow Wow” is believed to be an anglicized pronunciation of “pau wau” the Algonquin word for “medicine man”. The settlers used it to describe any form of Native American meeting.The understanding of a Pow Wow as being simply a meeting of people is a gross simplification. A Pow Wow is a gathering of the people of a Native American tribe (at times a gathering of many tribes) to enable socialization, discussion, and celebration. Its basic objective is to bring people together and to help them bond. In this manner, it is similar to many celebrations of other cultures.

There is no single form of Pow Wow. There are some 500 tribes in the U.S. and each has its own culture. That means that each has its kind of festivities and celebrations. While there are often many similarities between the various celebrations, it will be wrong to think that all Pow Wows are the same.To describe even a few of the Pow Wows held across the country every year is beyond the scope of this article. The best way to understand what they are, and to absorb part of the rich cultural tapestry of this land, would be to visit one and become a part of the celebrations. The experience will be one that you will not forget and will give you a unique window into cultures that are thousands of years old. You may find concepts, thoughts and ideas that will add to the way you live.

You can find details of Pow Wows online so finding one near you will not be hard. For those living in the San Francisco Bay Area, the website of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe contains a wealth of information. There is an events page where you can find details on Muwekma Ohlone Tribal events and celebrations.