The heartbeat of a pow wow is the drum.

Host drummers Spirit Ground and Southern Brothers will provide that pulse at the upcoming Yuba-Sutter Winter Pow Wow, which is sponsored by the American Indian Education Program and scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Marysville Youth and Civic Center from noon-6 p.m.

The annual ceremony will celebrate culture and traditions through various ceremonial dances and music.

“Drum has its role, it used to be alive at one point (and) not any kind of drum,” said Larry Haredia, singer of Spirit Ground.

The drum takes on lively characteristics, such as skin and sound, Haredia said. 

“Just the beat of the drum is the calling to seeing for those who can’t walk or dance,” said Jonathan Daniels of Southern Brothers. 

Event MC Val Shadowhawk said there is a difference between each host’s drum. 

“The way you can tell is by the tone,” said Shadowhawk. “Southern has a lower resonance, Northern has a higher resonance.”

Northern drum represents the Northern Plains styles and techniques, and Southern drum represents the Southern Plains styles and techniques. 

The pow wow will begin with a Gourd Society opening ceremony to bless the arena at noon. Soon after the opening ceremony there will be a grand entry at 1 p.m.

Pat Bennett, pow wow supervisor and coordinator, said this pow wow is not like the pow wow that happens in May where there is usually dance contests. This event features fun dances for everyone to enjoy and take part in. These dances include – the potato dance, the switch dance, stop/go dance, team dance and cake walk.

The potato dance is when a couple dance with a potato between their foreheads, Bennett said. Once the potato drops the couple is eliminated and the last couple standing wins.

The switch dance is when a male would wear female regalia dancing in the style of a female, and vice versa for the female, she said. 

Bennett said the stop/go dance is where the dancers continue moving until the music stops. If the dancer is still moving after the music stops the dancer is eliminated and the remaining dancer wins.

For the team dance it typically consists of three or more members, said Bennett. The members create their own dance. After the teams present their dance the audience votes for which team wins.

The cake walk allows for everyone to participate, said Bennett. 

In order to participate, numbered plates are purchased. Individuals that purchased a plate will dance until their number is called.

Alongside the fun dances, the winners of the American Indian Education Program Writing and Drawing contest will be announced during the event, said Bennett. Special requests will be included and can be made to honor the birth of a new life or the passing of a loved one as well. 

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Bennett at (530) 749-6196 or email 

Recommended for you