Each April, one of Rio Rancho’s high school gymnasiums echoes to the sounds of drums, chants, and songs. The smell of traditional fry bread and Indian tacos wafts in from the patio as dancers of all ages, wearing the traditional dress of their tribes, celebrate their ancient traditions.
The 9th Annual Rio Rancho Public Schools Benefit Pow Wow will be held on April 23, 2016 at the Rio Rancho High School gymnasium from 11:00 am – 10:00 pm. The event will feature Gourd Dancers, Grand Entries, amazing drum groups, and traditional dance competitions in several categories. In addition, the event includes a student art contest, raffles, giveaways, vendor booths featuring native arts and crafts, and other activities throughout the day.
The annual Pow Wow is sponsored by the RRPS Native American Parent Advisory Council (NAPAC), the Rio Rancho High School Native American Student Union, and the Cleveland High School Native American Student Union. The Pow Wow provides a means to bring the community together, to share their culture with others, and raise awareness about NAPAC with Rio Rancho parents. It also helps to cement the bonds among schools and their Native American families and is one way the district teaches students about the state’s diverse cultures.
Rio Rancho Public Schools enrolls students from all of New Mexico’s Native American tribes, as well as many tribes throughout the nation. About 5.3% of RRPS’s student population is Native American.
Each year, a percentage of the proceeds from the annual Pow Wow are used to fund the district’s Native American Summer Academy, which is designed to integrate Native American culture with core subject areas. This program focuses on instilling a sense a unity and community among urban native youth along with providing an educational, cultural and enriching experience.
2016 Head Staff
MC: Terry Pecos
Arena Director: Leonard Attcity
Northern Drum Group: Black Eagle
Southern Drum Group: Pumpkin Vyne
Head Gourd Dancer: Gary Keen
Head Man: Dewayne Martin
Head Lady: Camille Shanta
Head Boy: Kiyahn Bullhead
Head Girl: Jordan Thunder
Fancy Shawl Special: Crystal Velasquez