The Morongo Band of Mission Indians are preparing to host their 22nd Annual Thunder and Lightning Powwow starting Friday Sept. 28 in Cabazon.
Thousands of people, including Native Americans from across the western United States and Canada, attended last year's event outside Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, and organizers estimate 30,000 people are expected this year.
Admission is free for the three-day, family-friendly event, organizers said.
Each day will feature Color Guard Grand Entry parades, flag ceremonies, bird singing, gourd dancing and drum contests, according to an event schedule.
"Native food vendors will be on hand selling Indian tacos, tamales and Indian frybread," organizers said. "Authentic Native arts and crafts including jewelry, beadwork, pottery, clothing and basketry items will be available for purchase from more than 50 artisans."
Bird songs and dances of the Cahuilla Indians, a feature at every Thunder & Lightning Powwow, chronicle experiences and responses of the Cahuilla people as they migrated, powwow organizers said.
"Through bird metaphor and allegory, the songs also act as lessons that instruct tribal members about stages in their lives," organizers said. "The original Cahuilla Bird Songs were composed of more than 300 pieces that formed a cycle of stories. Songs were sung in a precise order that accurately accounted for the chronology of the migration."
The 22nd Annual Thunder and Lightning Powwow schedule includes:
Morongo Band of Mission Indians dignitaries
Est. 650 competitive dancers, singers & performers
Est. 25 drum groups
Thousands of spectators
Native food vendors and traditional crafters
Powwow & Indian Market
Friday Sept. 28: 4 pm – 12 am
Saturday Sept. 29: 10 am –12 am
Sunday Sept. 30: 10 am – 6 pm
Color Guard and Grand Entry
Friday Sept. 28: 8 pm
Saturday Sept. 29: 1 pm & 7 pm
Sunday Sept. 30: 1 pm
To view photos from last year's Thunder & Lightning Powwow, click here, here and here.
The powwow venue is about 30 miles west of Palm Desert.