That is how I found myself yesterday at the 12th Annual Chumash Day Inter-Tribal Powwow in Malibu. After surveying the abundance of trinkets on sale with little interest, I seated myself on the periphery of a large circle with a fire pit in the center, which from what I have read represents the circle of life. These circles are blessed for the duration of the Powwow, and are considered sacred ground. The Powwow (or Pauwau as they are originally known before the term was mispronounced by European explorers in the 1800s) was initially a gathering for medicine men and spiritual leaders, or a ceremony to celebrate (eg. a victory in war, a successful hunt or a cure of a disease). More recently, the powwow, I think, serves more as gathering to socialize, for the tribes to get together and share songs and to keep their respective tribal history, heritage and cultures alive.
After the 'Grand Entry,' a victory song was sung and the warrior dance ensued. I watched it all while devouring a piece of freshly made piping hot, crispy fry bread with a little honey, cinnamon and powdered sugar.
After a couple more dances, I left the Powwow still in full swing, grateful for another new experience and exposure to a fascinating heritage.