San Diego State Annual Pow wow

2 native americans in traditional wear

Saturday, April 13, 2024
SDSU Main Campus - Rec Field 103

  • 11 a.m. - Gourd Dance
  • Noon - Grand Entry
  • 1 - 6 p.m. - Dance Exhibitions & Honorings
  • 6 p.m. - Bird Singing
  • 8 p.m. - Approximate End

SDSU Pow Wow: Vendor Application

Event Information

SDSU Pow Wow: Volunteer Form





The San Diego State University Pow Wow is a cultural and social event that is held annually to bring together the Native American community to SDSU. SDSU has the reputation of having one of the longest running pow wows ran by a university in California. This event is open to the public and is a partnership between the Native Resource Center, the SDSU American Indian Studies Department, the Native American Student Alliance and the American Indian Alumni Chapter of SDSU.  

About the Event 

The pow wow includes dance contests, cultural displays, arts and craft booths, food vendors, and various informational booths.  There will be a Master of Ceremonies and Arena Director who help run the event. The MC works with the Arena Director to keep the pow wow program organized and running smoothly. The SDSU pow wow kicks off with Kumeyaay Bird singers followed by the Gourd Dance and Grandy Entry which signals the official start of the festivities. 

Kumeyaay Bird Songs have been passed down through generations and are used in times of celebration or grief, to sing, dance, and share culture in the company of friends.

Bird Songs are used in the place of a written history and record an oral history and way of life for Kumeyaay people. Through the use of animal metaphors and allegory, the songs are used to instruct and imprint collective teachings about practical things such as food, the environment and geography, as well as history, customs, and social/moral values.

The Gourd Dance is a Kiowa Tribe ceremonial dance that honors warriors or veterans. Many of those that dance this style are veterans and the idea is to honor all warriors alive or fallen for their service. Most notable of the gourd dance is the use of either a gourd rattle or metallic salt shaker rattle and a red and blue wool blanket draped over the shoulders.

Grand Entry is the official start of the pow wow and all dancers enter the arena. During the grand entry, the color guard brings in the Eagle Staff which is a symbol of American Indian Nations, the U.S flag, state and veterans flags are also represented. This is also a time when we introduce our honored Head Staff and other important guests.


SDSU Pow Wow 2024

Driving Directions to SDSU and Parking: Use this link on a mobile device to get directions via Google

-Use this link on a mobile device to get directions via Google

From Interstate 8:

Exit at College Avenue and go south. San Diego State University will be on your right. Turn Right on Canyon Crest Drive. Continue driving until you reach Aztec Circle Dr. (You’ll see some practice fields on your right) Once at the stop sign, turn right onto Aztec Circle Dr. You will see Parking Structure 12 on the right. 

From Montezuma and 55th:

Montezuma Ave runs East to West. Turn North onto 55th St. Head past the Viejas Arena on the right hand side. You will see the SDSU Rec Center, turn right at the stop light to stay on 55th st. Merge right. The entrance to Parking Structure 12 is on the left. 

Parking 12:

There is free parking located in Parking Lot 12. Only park on floors 4-8 in spots with no colors/markings unless you are using ADA Blue spots. Elevators are located on the North East side of the structure, closer to the REC field. 

Walking Directions to the REC Field from Parking 12:

After you park in P12, walk towards the North East side of the parking structure, as the REC field is located directly North of the parking structure. Take the elevator (or stairs) down to the first floor and walk North. You will see the REC field pretty quickly. 

For ADA/Handicap Accessible Parking:

You may follow the same directions as listed above to Lot 12.There are allotted ADA/handicap parking spaces on each level and elevators located on the North-East and South-West corners. 


  • Powwow grounds will be on the REC Field (Indicated with the Turquoise Star)
  • Free Parking is located in structure 12, Levels 4-8 (Indicated with Yellow Arrow)
  • Follow signs to lead you from parking lot to field
Yes, this event is free to all attendees.

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