Drumming, dance and celebration at MCC Thunderbird Pow Wow March 9

MESA, Arizona – Feb. 26, 2024 --The Mesa Community College American Indian Institute and the Inter-Tribal Student Organization (ISO) host the MCC Thunderbird Pow Wow from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday, March 9, in the John D. Riggs Stadium on the Southern and Dobson campus, 1833 W. Southern Ave., Mesa, 85202. The Gourd Dance begins at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Grand Entry procession is at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Free and open to the public, the Pow Wow features people from different tribes coming together in a social gathering to celebrate and honor their traditions and Indigenous ancestry. The all-day event also features American Indian food as well as arts and crafts vendors of jewelry, apparel and artwork.

"The MCC Thunderbird Pow Wow is meaningful not only to me but to the entire Indigenous community of Mesa,” said Jaden Bird, ISO club member and Pow Wow chair. “We often miss our families and friends on the reservation and having this event shows that MCC supports our people and culture. It also provides a sense of belonging to and pride in being a student at Mesa Community College."

Dancers will enter the arena to the sounds of the host drummers believed to be the heartbeat that resonates throughout the gathering bringing harmony and balance to all. Host drums for Spring 2024 are Wild Krew (northern) and Southern Slam (southern). Jingle, Chicken and other dancers wear regalia adorned in elaborate designs, beadwork, fringe and applique, all of which hold special meanings specific to the individual and the tribes they represent.

Margaret Talia White (Dine), senior student services specialist in the MCC American Indian Institute, said, “We are excited to hold this event as a welcoming opportunity for Indigenous tribal members and the community as a whole to come together to celebrate and learn about the heritage of many Native peoples. It is especially notable that the Pow Wow is being led by members of the Inter-Tribal Student Organization and the MCC American Indian Institute.”


Media contact: Dawn Zimmer, 480-461-7892, dawn.zimmer@mesacc.edu

The MCC American Indian Institute (Aii), celebrating more than 35 years of service to Indigenous students and communities, provides support and encouragement to more than 2,000 Native American students from the 22 federally recognized tribes of Arizona as well as out-of-state tribes. MCC has the largest population of Native American students of any college in Arizona. The Institute assists students with enrollment, educational planning, class selection, scholarships and other on-campus support resources. The Aii Welcome Center provides an inclusive area for students to gather, study and collaborate. MCC has a Navajo language course, the most prevalent Native American language spoken today. Aii strives to include community engagement, university collaboration, resource development, K-12 relationships, student support services and clubs, tribal relationship building, outreach, and recruitment in its strategic goals. For more information, visit mesacc.edu/students/american-indian-institute.

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized for university transfer, career and technical programs, civic engagement, service-learning and innovative approaches to education. Host to more than 24,400 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses and additional locations. On average MCC students provide 23,000 hours of community service annually. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for education, workforce development and lifelong learning. MCC is transforming student success through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution. Nearly 50% of MCC students are the first in their families to attend college. MCC has the largest Indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges. The American Indian Institute serves students from 22 federally recognized Arizona tribes and out-of-state tribes. Our diverse student body includes hundreds of international students from around the world. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to attain their goals. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit mesacc.edu to learn more.

MCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), hlcommission.org.

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit maricopa.edu/non-discrimination.

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Publication Date: 
Monday, February 26, 2024