A First: SCU Powwow

Celebration. Dance. Prayer. Native Californians, Native Americans, and Native Hawaiians celebrated their heritage with a first-ever powwow on the Mission grounds.

With the first ever powwow on modern Mission grounds, SCU gave a nod to something its community is thankful for and contemplative of every day: the land of the Ohlone. The Ohlone peoples lived in the Bay Area, including these campus grounds, when Spanish colonialists and missionaries took the land. The new arrivals brought epidemics of European diseases, pressures to convert and assimilate to gain Spanish citizenship, and degradation of the land. In some cases, colonialists forced families to the missions as one people regardless of language or culture, and then forced them into labor. In others, the mission system so changed the land and culture that native communities became dependent on it. An acknowledgment read before most campus events says of the Ohlone: “We remember their connection to this region and give thanks for the opportunity to live, work, learn and pray on their traditional homeland.” Despite the devastation European contact brought, some Ohlone traditions and people survived in the Bay Area and beyond. During the May 4 powwow organized by the SCU Native American Coalition for Change,  Ohlone and other native communities from across North America and Hawaii came to campus to dance, pray, and celebrate. Revel with them here. —Leslie Griffy
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