Black crowned night heron © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mission Pow Wow

It has been a real tough week. We lost our cat of nine years, our only child. He found a way through a screen door and into the night. Many predators lurk in the shadows in these parts. Nigel, you were a great cat.

Leslie took it really hard. Yesterday she thought we might take a drive to the beach. On the way we saw a sign for a Pow Wow at Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. We had been to fiestas there but never a Pow Wow, this one sponsored by the original native inhabitants of the area, the San Luis Rey band of Mission Indians. There were dancers from many other tribes there as well. It was fun and colorful and gave me a chance to try out my new Nikkor 70-200mm vr II 2.8.

I had a great time and look forward to spending a longer time if not whole day next time.

You were allowed to photograph everything but the Grand Entry which we were too late to see anyway.

We saw gourd dancing, chicken dancing, inter tribal dancing and much that I am not familiar with. Mostly just good folk having a wonderful time!

The local indians were given the name of Luiseños by the Spaniards in honor of San Luis but called themselves the Ataaxam.

They received a very raw deal by the United States government that consolidated the local tribes in 1851 but royally screwed the indians of the San Luis Rey, moving them east, leaving them essentially landless, because their native lands were too valuable to the immigrant white folks.

Most people find it hard to believe but we have more different native american tribes in San Diego County than any other county in the entire nation. It's true.

Their lore says that they were here since the beginning of time. The San Luis Rey Band of Luiseño Indians is associated with six other Luiseño and Cupeño tribes, La Jolla, Pala, Pauma, Pechanga, Rincon and Soboba and the tribes work together to keep their cultural and tribal heritage alive.

It is going to be real hard to decide what pictures to post. I think I got too many wonderful ones!

Our hosts were friendly and beautiful. Everybody wowing the pow.

I enjoyed myself so much, soaking in the pride, visual richness and beauty.

Lens worked like a champ.

Fantastic day. I felt honored to attend.


Unknown said...

Fantastic Robert! Palomar College had an excellent American Indian studies department when I attended classes there (1979-80). I was fortunate to enroll in several of them.

LJS said...

You did a marvelous job capturing the beauty of the dancers!

Blue Heron said...

Thank you both very much.

Emergefit said...

Showed to my mom who worked for the Indian Health service for many years. She loves the pictures and so do I. Very nice!

Anonymous said...

What beautiful colorful pictures, I hope you can go back and share with the tribes someday. Don't be shy or feel guilty about crowd funding (not sure how it works) but I will be the first to enroll! after all you have been sharing great reading and now great art for years.


Wicki said...

Robert.....these are more than wonderful. I think inspired. This could make book.....I mean it.

Blue Heron said...

Thank you that is so nice. I saw your sister this morning. Sounds like you are going on an amazing trip. Leslie and I want to come stay with you some time.

best and love,


Helen Killeen Bauch McHargue said...

Fabulous photography. Who knew we had such an event in our back yard. Much
sympathy on the loss of your cat.

Anonymous said...

Dear Robert,

Thank you for sending us the pictures, they are fantastic. Your lens picked up
all the colors of the dancers regalia. Thank you for sharing and I’ll try and locate
the dancer in the picture so we can give them a copy. Thank you again and please
come back next year. Our Pow Wow is always held on the second week-end of

SLR band of Mission Indians

Ken Seals said...

Great job on the photos and narrative.

Chip said...

So sorry to hear about Nigel.....sure that he is roaming freely with the spirits in the sky.

Noreen said...

I've gone to this particular powow over the past few years and I have to admit that I enjoy your vision of it better than my experience being there. Wonderful visuals!!!