Soaring Eagle 2011 Barona Pow wow

By Roy Cook

The Soaring Eagles look forward to the summer pow wow season and our local Reservations host some of the best. This weekend the Barona band sponsors a long appreciated competition pow wow. Participants from many states and Canada attend yearly. We hope you enjoy these images of the 41st annual pow wow and the Soaring Eagles dancing and our happy competition winners: Vanessa Franco, ‘BJ’, Ricky Garcia, Melda Cadotte, Mason Bichity, Ramon Montero and Nikita Bichity.



The Barona band has been a leader in inter-tribal celebrations of dance, music and culture. As an early member of the Pacific Coast Indian Club, along with Wilbur Solomon-President this was our annual pow wow location. I highly recommend this fine presentation by Barona band member, Ms Laurie Phoenix. It is worth a look and it has a YouTube video.

“This year marks the 41st year of the Barona Powwow. While the first Powwow on the Barona reservation was held in 1970, it is thought that the idea for our Powwow began in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when a handful of Barona Tribal members belonged to a group called Pacific Coast Indian Club.  It was one of the only Powwows in Southern California and was held at the Orange County Fairgrounds.

A group of Tribal members interested in bringing a Powwow to the San Diego region approached the Barona Tribal leadership and asked if there could be a Powwow at Barona. The Tribe agreed and the first Powwow in this region was hosted at the traditional gathering grounds, which is where the Barona Cultural Center & Museum is located today. What began as a modest gathering has grown into a three-day event with over 300 dancers and 10,000 people historically in attendance.

This year is also very special as the 41st anniversary of the Barona Powwow will be memorialized with a special new exhibit at the Barona Museum & Cultural Center. It opens on September 3.  It will showcase the photos and stories of Barona Powwow’s past including highlights of the Powwow Princesses, Little Hawk dancers, the differences between southern vs. northern dance styles and the history of this Pan-Indian tradition. Everyone is invited to attend and admission to the museum is free.

If you haven’t had a chance to go to a Powwow yet, I’d strongly encourage you to come out and visit.  There is incredible beauty and pageantry on display at the Powwow and it offers an amazing look back into our nation’s history and where it’s headed. Tribal dancers of all ages will be dressed in colorful, traditional regalia featuring decoration such as bustles, buckskin, deerskin and small metallic cones.  And, they will compete for more than $60,000 in cash prizes.

In addition to the incredible dancing, you can enjoy Native American singing and drumming.  You will also find dozens of vendors selling some our favorite foods such as fry bread and Indian tacos.”


This Barona pow wow’s Soaring Eagle participation is also a fine reflection of the devotion and dedication of Ms Vickie Gambala. Sadly, one of our Soaring Eagle mentor’s relations attending, from out of state, passed away. We ask you to keep the family in your prayers.


The Soaring Eagle program is all about the children. This quality is evident in the initiative, joy, pride of tribal identity and participation from beginning to end of the parents and children of the Soaring Eagles.


Thank you all for being there and to Abel Jacome, Hilda Fuentes and Angela Wyatt for the posted pictures. To all, Mehan and Aho.