Hundreds of Native Americans from across the U.S. and Canada took part Friday night in the opening Grand Entry for the 22nd Thunder and Lightning Powwow hosted by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.
Comanche, Mojave, Navajo, Lakota Sioux, Dakota Sioux, Omaha, Cree, Pawnee and Yakama were among the tribal nations represented in the San Gorgonio Pass, 20 miles east of Redlands and Loma Linda.
Elders, men, women, children and grandchildren, many in traditional hand-crafted clothing, paraded, danced and greeted one another, accompanied by groups of drummers and singers.
They said they came from Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Montana, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Niagara Falls, many to compete as dancers.
The celebrative opening inside a massive tent next to the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa took place before hundreds of specators in the stands and a healthy contingent of tribal and county law enforcement outside.
Thousands of people attended last year's event and organizers estimate 30,000 people are expected this year.
Admission is free for the three-day, family-friendly event, organizers said.
Each day will feature Color Guard Grand Entry parades, flag ceremonies, bird singing, gourd dancing and drum contests, according to an event schedule.
"Native food vendors will be on hand selling Indian tacos, tamales and Indian frybread," organizers said. "Authentic Native arts and crafts including jewelry, beadwork, pottery, clothing and basketry items will be available for purchase from more than 50 artisans."
The 22nd Annual Thunder and Lightning Powwow schedule includes:
Morongo Band of Mission Indians dignitaries
Est. 650 competitive dancers, singers & performers
Est. 25 drum groups
Thousands of spectators
Native food vendors and traditional crafters
Powwow & Indian Market
Friday Sept. 28: 4 pm – 12 am
Saturday Sept. 29: 10 am –12 am
Sunday Sept. 30: 10 am – 6 pm
Color Guard and Grand Entry
Friday Sept. 28: 8 pm
Saturday Sept. 29: 1 pm & 7 pm
Sunday Sept. 30: 1 pm
Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa is at 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabazon.