This weekend, on a radiant Sunday morning and afternoon, hundreds of people gathered at the Oval, a central circular green space at Mills College, for a pow wow ceremony and celebration of “Indigenous community, culture and resistance.”
It was the eighth such gathering at Mills, an event that typically happens every other year but didn’t last year due to COVID. The pow wow is organized and co-sponsored by the college’s ethnic studies department—a major at risk of no longer being accredited once Mills merges with Northeastern University—along with the Mills College Indigenous Women’s Alliance.
Kicking off with a land acknowledgment and blessing, the event honored Dr. Melinda Micco (Muskogee Creek, Seminole), the first tenured faculty member in Native studies at Mills, who passed away in December.
Lining the Oval at Mills were over two dozen artisans and vendors, information booths, and a couple of food trucks, all part of the Indigenous Red Market, which usually takes place on the first Sunday of the month in Fruitvale. Representatives of the California Tribal College were on hand to share information about the Yolo County-based institution’s courses on small business entrepreneurship, ancestral languages, the history of federal policy impacting Native Americans, and much more. Bigfoot Indian Tacos sold frybread loaded with beans, veggies, cheese, and other toppings. Soldadera offered handmade jewelry “for freedom fighters, lovers, and creators,” and shared the stories of Aztec gods and goddesses inspiring certain pieces.
Our photographer Amir Aziz was on hand to photograph this momentous event and gathering.