by Bernice Mascher, co-chair of LACDMH’s Cultural Competency Committee

People dancing in a circle at LACDMH's Peer Resource Center

LACDMH Staff & Community Members celebrate Native American culture with a dance at our Peer Resource Center, 2019

Like so many events in the last two years, COVID-19 canceled most events in the Native American community as well. This includes many of the annual Native American Pow Wows and annual gatherings. Pow Wows occur across the North American continent, as one of the ways the Native American community gets together to renew friendships and build relationship. It’s a time of celebration and renewal as cultural foods are enjoyed (i.e. frybread, Indian tacos), authentic crafts are sold, and the arena brings together dancers, singers, and traditional honorings of many kinds. This is a great way to find community members, and a wonderful way to participate and learn more about the Native American culture. It is also a relaxing way to spend a day.

If you want to learn more about Pow Wows, or if you want to pencil in a visit to an upcoming event, check out They keep an updated calendar of most events, and they offer plenty of information about Pow Wows for anyone attending for the first time. There are many “community” Pow Wows (often held at schools and parks) as well as large competition Pow Wows (held by most Casinos and Tribes in the surrounding areas and of Southern California). Each event has its own unique sense of atmosphere and excitement, and various activities and a number of vendors.  These events are all open to the public, but be aware there are some “rules” and ways to show respect. Don’t be afraid to ask questions once you are there. Also listen closely to the MC giving the announcements in the arena, which will let you know what is going on, including when you can join the dancers in the arena (during “Inter-tribals” only). Be careful with photos. If you want to take a close-up photo of a dancer, ask! Also, do not take photos during the competitions. The MC will let you know ways in which you can participate, and most attendees are very open to have a conversation with you if you are truly interested to learn.

If you have never been to a Pow Wow, or if it’s been a long time since you enjoyed some of the foods or connected with friends, or you just want to experience some of the uniqueness of the Native American culture, here are three near-by opportunities to be involved in the month of April and May:

2022 Chumash Day /  22nd Annual Chumash Day Powwow and Intertribal Gathering
Saturday, April 9, 2022
Malibu Bluffs Park, 24250 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu  CA  90265
Facilities • Malibu, CA • CivicEngage (
Arena Schedule and Head Staff – Contact, Adrianna Flori, 310-456-2489 ext. 239.
Vendor Information/Coordinator – Contact, Loren Davis, 310-456-2489 ext. 223.
Organizer, Kate Gallo,, 310-317-1364

Ohlone Gathering 2022

28th Annual Ohlone “Big Time” Gathering & Pow Wow
Friday through Sunday, April 22 – April 24, 2022
The Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe is set to host its 28th Annual Ohlone Pow Wow, at Tony Cerda Park, 450 W. Grand Ave., Pomona, CA
To learn more, or to sign up for this or other Pow Wows, also check out California Pow Wows 2022 on Facebook: They give an extensive listing of upcoming Pow Wows across California.

There are many other Facebook pages and websites that give Pow Wow information across the nation, so consider doing a search if you want to attend an event in another State.

UCLA Pow Wow 2022

37th Annual UCLA Pow Wow
Friday through Sunday, May 6 – May 8, 2022
Location: Westwood Plaza (Sunset Blvd entry), Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1548
Organizer: Cheyenne Faulkner, (858) 722-8767 / Email:


For more upcoming Native American events in California, also check out “News from Native California” at

Enjoy these opportunities. They can build friendships, understanding and cultural competency, while also supporting the Native American community as a whole. These gatherings also help us forget some of our difficulties for a day, as they are very uplifting experiences. This is something we can all use in our challenging times.