Annual Pomona College Pow Wow to Celebrate Native-American Culture

This Saturday, Mar. 26, will be the fourth annual Pomona College Pow Wow to celebrate the Native American community of Claremont and surrounding areas. There will be plenty of activities for 5C students and Claremont residents to enjoy, including drumming, dancing, and singing from local Native Americans.

The event is sponsored by the Draper Center for Community Partnerships and Pomona College Native Initiatives.

Scott Scoggins, Pitzer College’s director of Native American outreach, has been working as the liaison between the Native American community and the 5Cs to coordinate the Pow Wow. He describes his duties as being “responsible for facilitating the colleges and the students’ interactions with the different groups we have here at the 5Cs and also bringing in the cultural component of the Pow Wow.”

Scoggins said that Pomona College President David Oxtoby kick-started the event, which was first held in 2011.

“We have to give complete respect and credit to President Oxtoby at Pomona College for making the decision to start working with our local Native American communities,” Scoggins said.

Philip Brayley PZ ’19, a student intern at Pitzer’s Community Engagement Center, and other Pow Wow coordinators have been working for months to raise awareness about the event.

Brayley grew up in Niagara Falls, New York, on the Tuscarora reservation, so contributing to this event hits close to home for him.

“I got here and got to college, and I found a really good community of Native American people at the 5Cs,” Brayley said. “This is part of a way that I can give back to the Native American people, as well as the general community.”

For Scoggins, there’s more behind the event than just celebrating the local Native American community.

“The purpose of it is to attract Native Americans to the colleges and to do something that’s right. This is really important to build bridges between our higher institutions and the local Native American communities,” he said.

Scoggins said that he has seen a lasting effect from the Pow Wow.

“I’m very passionate about getting Native American students into these colleges, and the Pow Wow is just one of those events at the colleges that is helping create space for native students,” he said.

Both Scoggins and Brayley are enthusiastic to see everything that the Pow Wow has to offer. In particular, Scoggins looks forward to the grand entry of the dancers and the drummers at noon on Saturday.

“That’s the best thing, to see them come in,” he said. “We’re going to have hundreds of dancers in their regalia [Native American dress]. It’s quite the spectacle, with the big beautiful dresses and the jingling of the jingle dresses and the rattles and the drums, banging really loud to Pow Wow songs.”

Brayley is ready to see the engagement of the 5C and Claremont community.

“I’m just really excited to see a lot of students getting involved with the Native American community, and to see people who hopefully won’t be afraid to come over and see everything,” he said.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Walker Beach. The grand entry starts at 12 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6 p.m.

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