Barona Powwow Draws Dancers from U.S., Canada for Pride, $60,000 in Prizes

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By Chris Stone

“You know it’s not easy all the time,” the announcer told Dakota Jacome, who nodded his head. “But you can do it. You have the strong fire.”

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As his tribal community followed him around the sunlit arena, 13-year-old Dakota of the Barona Band of Mission Indians performed an honor dance at the 48th annual Barona Powwow.

Dakota was chosen “head young man dancer” for the Barona Band. And Kirstin Banegas was chosen “head young woman dancer.”

“For [Dakota] to be asked to be head young man at a big powwow, like Barona, is an honor for him, our family and his tribe,” said his mother, Anna.

“He’s a leader and a hard worker. He likes to help others, and he enjoys dancing for sure,” she said, adding that he’s been dancing since age 5.

Anna Jacob said Dakota’s duties would include putting on dance exhibitions at intertribal events.

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Dancers ranged from toddlers to seniors at the powwow. Photo by Chris Stonemore
An older dancer competes at the 48th annual Barona Powwow. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Dakota Jacome, 13, was chosen lead young man dancer at the Barona Powwow. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Dancers ranged from toddlers to seniors at the powwow. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Jade Thompson was chosen the Barona Powwow princess. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Children as young as 6 competed in the dance competition. Photo by Chris Stonemore
An adult stands ready for judging at the 48th annual Barona Powwow. Photo bymore
Young male dancers competed in a variety of categories over the three-day event. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Young male dancers competed for cash prizes. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Several young men competed in the fancy category. Photo by Chris Stonemore
About 300 dancers competed in the 48th annual Barona Powwow. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A young boy dances at the 48th annual Barona Powwow. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Female teens competed with fancy scarves. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Female teens competed with fancy scarves. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A boy waits to compete in the fancy category on Sunday. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A boy competes in the fast-paced fancy category. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A young man waits to compete at the 48th annual Barona Powwow. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Dennis Zotigh, the head judge, is a museum cultural specialist at the National Museum of the American Indian. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Groups competed in the hand drum competition. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Feathers and ribbons swirl as the dancers perform. Photo by Chris Stonemore
About 300 dancers from across the country and Canada competed for cash prizes. Photo by Chris Stonemore
About 300 dancers competed in the annual powwow. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Women competed in the fancy scarf category on Sunday. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Dakota Jacome, 13, chosen lead young man dancer, greets family and community members. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A dancer photographs others who are performing. Photo by Chris Stonemore
About 70 children competed in the annual powwow. Photo by Chris Stonemore
The dancer competed in the fancy category at the powwow. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Booths selling crafts and items made by Native Americans lined the parameter of the Barona Sports Complex. Photo by Chris Stone more
Booths that lined the perimeter of the Barona Sports Complex sold clothing, jewelry, beadwork, crafts and blankets. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Seventy children competed in the 48th annual Barona Powwow, which lasted three days. Photo by Chris Stonemore

Some 300 dancers from across the county and Canada took part in the three-day powwow ending Sunday night at the Barona Sports Park on the East County reservation.

The event shows pride in being Indian, where singing and dancing are the focal points, said head judge Dennis Zotigh, museum cultural specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

“This dance that takes place has a rich tradition,” he said. “This reservation a long time ago welcomed the powwow, so it’s a well-established powwow here.”

Dancers — competing for $60,000 in prize money — ranged in age from toddlers to 80-year-olds in categories including fancy, grass, traditional and Southern/Northern Buckskin.

First-prize winners in the adult and senior categories won $1,000 each.

The featured color dress, handmade by families and friends.

Besides the dancing, hand-drum competitions were held throughout the event. Food booths and traditional arts were on display — and for sale — including jewelry, beadwork and blankets.

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