Greater Palm Springs offers various must-attend Native American cultural events throughout the year. Experience one-of-a-kind celebrations and start planning your visit with this round-up of all of the Native American events in Greater Palm Springs.
Agua Caliente's Annual Singing the Birds
January 28 | Palm Springs
For thousands of years, Cahuilla people have been singing their Bird Songs. Cahuilla people and other Tribes throughout Southern California celebrate their heritage and culture by sharing the Bird Songs that tell the stories of the Cahuilla migration and the lessons learned along the way. These sacred songs have been passed down from generation to generation. Tribe officials also sing the songs and tell stories of their combined experience as a people, from creation to migration and beyond.
Richard Milanovich Legacy Hike & 5K
March 2023 | Palm Springs
Richard Milanovich had helmed the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs for nearly 30 years, cementing his role as a leader in local and national tribal affairs. Agua Caliente is bringing back its annual hike and 5k run in Milanovich's memory. Attendees can either join the "trading post challenge" walk or the 5K run. The route for both options is the same, starting from an area at the intersection of South Palm Canyon Drive and Acanto Drive and ending at Palm Canyon. The route will wind into Indian Canyons in south Palm Springs. Proceeds will go towards the University of California, Los Angeles's Native Nations Law & Policy Center.
Morongo Thunder & Lighting Pow Wow
September 2023 | Cabazon
The Morongo Thunder and Lightening Pow Wow is a celebration of Native American heritage and traditions. This is a time to reaffirm old ways and share in the discovery of new ones. This three-day event will feature the Grand Entry, a parade that includes hundreds of dancers in traditional regalia as drum groups and singers perform. The Morongo Band of Mission Indians Pow Wow also will feature Native American drummers, Bird Singers, and dancers from across North America and Canada. Vendors will sell food, authentic Native American jewelry, pottery, clothing, and baskets.
Kewet Native American Day & Market
November 2023 | Palm Springs
Kewet, the Cahuilla word for fiesta features activities including Bird Singers and dancers; demonstrations, and activities such as basket weaving, beading, gourd rattle making, traditional games, food, and a Native American Market. This event is free and is hosted in partnership with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the City of Palm Springs, and the Palm Springs Unified School District.
Junior Ranger Expo by Agua Caliente
November 2023 | Palm Springs
This event invites all residents and visitors with children to explore Andreas Canyon. The free event features educational booths on animals, plants, geology, safety, and much more. The event includes activities, demonstrations, as well as Bird Singers and dancing performances, and ranger-led hikes. This is one of the Tribe’s many educational outreach programs intended to introduce the community to the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the beauty of the Indian Canyons.
Cabazon Indio Pow Wow
November 2023 | Indio
The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians keeps the cultural tradition alive by holding annual pow wows. The Cabazon Indio Pow Wow takes place on the Cabazon Indian Reservation located in Indio, California. Included in the celebration are Native American dance competitions for contestants of all ages, bird singing, drum contests and peon games. There are also opportunities for visitors to join dancers in the arena during non-competitive, inter-tribal dancing. Visitors also have an opportunity to taste Native American foods such as Indian fry bread and shop among vendors for jewelry, weaving, dream catchers, and other types of Native arts and crafts.
The Winter Gathering Pow Wow
December 2023 | Coachella
Hosted by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians at Spotlight 29 Casino, Indigenous people from the United States, Canada, and Mexico come together for a celebration of Native American song and dance that brightens the approach to the winter solstice and prepares all comers for the year ahead. The Winter Gathering Pow Wow brings multiple tribes together to compete in various dance and drum contests. Cash prizes are awarded to the top performers in each category.
Today, there are five tribes representing two major Native cultural groups residing in the area that makes up Greater Palm Springs. Learn more about these tribes and the Native American History of Greater Palm Springs.