Annual Pow Wow moves to the Sun Devil Stadium for 2019 celebration

ASU's Pow Wow will be held in the stadium for the first time in 30 years

The annual Pow Wow held at ASU's Tempe Campus has found a new home this year at the Sun Devil Stadium.

The Pow Wow Committee has partnered with the ASU 365 Community Union project to relocate the long-running three-day event, which draws in tens of thousands of people from Native American communities in the U.S and Canada.  

Read more: ASU's Annual Pow Wow is an event for camaraderie and tradition

Tahnee Baker, an ASU alumna and ASU Pow Wow coordinator, said that event organizers from ASU Community 365 approached the committee in December 2018 with the idea of hosting the Pow Wow at the Sun Devil Stadium.

Historically, Baker said that the event has been held on various practice fields throughout the Tempe campus, such as the ASU Band Practice Field for last year's Pow Wow.

“We definitely outgrew the space, and this partnership could not have come at a better time,” she said.  

Baker said that the event is using the new location as an opportunity to draw in even more people from all over the Valley. Those involved in putting on the event said they also hope to use the bigger space to better showcase the dancers, singers and Native presence in Arizona.

Victor Hamburger, the senior director at ASU 365 Community Union, said that the move is part of the effort to continually use the Sun Devil Stadium every day of the year to be more sustainable.

Hamburger said that people on the project are very excited to partner with the Pow Wow and bring the celebration back to the stadium for the first time in more than 30 years. 

“Our hope is that by moving it into the stadium that, we’re able to make it very welcoming to anyone to come to the Pow Wow and participate and enjoy the amazing artistry that's going to be on display,” he said.

Randall Morin Jr., the current Mr. Indian ASU and a senior majoring in liberal studies, said that the move is exciting.

“It's a new space," said Morin Jr., who will be dancing in the Pow Wow. "It's a new spot for us, and for it to get the first cultural event to ever happen in the stadium, it's even more exciting."

He said that the event's relocation has been a work in progress for a while, and he's glad that it is finally happening.

As a dancer himself, Morin Jr. said he believes that partnerships like this one show that ASU is being supportive of Native American students on campus.

“Not only with the Pow Wow itself, but with the involvement that it has and our voices being heard on the ASU Tempe campus through President Crow, it makes it a little bit more inviting,” he said.

Both Baker and Hamburger said that they hope this partnership is only the beginning of a long-term relationship between the Pow Wow and the stadium. 

“We will be determining the dates for next year's Pow Wow 2020 and (will) be able to announce that at the Pow Wow next weekend,” Baker said.

Baker said she has been going to the event since she was five years old and has witnessed it flourish over the years. She said she is optimistic that the move will help include more people.

The 33rd Annual Pow Wow at ASU will be held April 12 through 14. Attendees can purchase single-day and full-weekend passes for the event.


Reach the reporter at rjromer8@asu.edu or follow @RaphaDeLaG on Twitter.

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