Indian Rancheria Pow-Wow

By Anne Hart, SIR Tribal Member

Native Americans in the northeast California region display their rich cultural customs in the form of song and dance to the delight of large crowds.

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Susanville, California is the home of the Susanville Indian Rancheria (SIR), comprised of members of the Maidu, Paiute, Pit River, and Washoe tribes.

Each year on the third weekend in May (Fri, Sat, Sun, 15, 16, 17, 2015) the SIR hosts an event called a “pow-wow,” held at the Lassen County Fairgrounds located at 195 Russell Ave. This year’s 6th annual pow-wow is a celebration to honor the elders, veterans, and ancestors of these indigenous peoples. This very special gathering reflects upon many important aspects of Native American society, where young members are exposed to the language, values, traditions and spirituality of their ancestors.

The drum is the most significant part of the entire event, as it carries the heartbeat of the Indian Nation, and of Mother Earth, and thus calls the spirits and the nations together. The dances have a strong personal and spiritual dimension that is unique to each dancer. The outfits they wear, called “regalia” are a personal artistic reflection of the dancers lives, feelings, interests, family and spiritual quest. Various events at a number of venues reinforce the values of working together as a family and bonding as a community.

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There is also a princess contest where a young lady is chosen to represent her tribes, communities or cultural groups, who shares her knowledge of customs, cultural talent, poise and communication skills.

Visitors can find vendors providing food and Native American Arts & Crafts for sale. Nearby Diamond Mountain Casino & Hotel provides lodging for those seeking extended stays.

Another pow-wow takes place in Oroville in Butte County on Memorial Day weekend. Plus, the 2nd weekend in June sees The Bear Dance, delighting spectators in the town of Burney in Shasta County; during this same date the event also takes place at Roxie Peconom Campground located on the outskirts of Susanville.

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Native Americans from all across America are invited to join members of the SIR as they sing and dance in honor of their elders and veterans. This is a free event and open to the public. — Anne Hart, SIR tribal member

For additional information, call SIR Pow Wow Coordinator Amelia Luna at 530.249.7192. Email: Website:

Photos Courtesy Susanville Rancheria Pow-Wow.