While you’re in the desert, check with the Palm Springs’ Life Desert Guide (free and available at most hotels and restaurants) to see if there are any powwows scheduled during your visit. The entire family will find
these colorful events a living-history lesson. Adding to the pageantry are the dozens of artisans selling Native American jewelry and arts and crafts. And of course, Indian fry bread is readily available.
The Morongo Band of Indians holds an annual powwow adjacent to the Casino Morongo that features gourd dancing, drum contests, exhibitions, and ceremonies that showcase Native American traditions. The costumes, with feathers and fabulous beading, are a sight to behold. Bird songs, a means of aesthetic expression among the Cahuilla people, are preserved and sung at this powwow.
There are other Native American events organized by the Twentynine Palms Band of Mission Indians, such as an intertribal powwow.
For more information on powwows, check the Palm Springs Visitors Guide, the official publication of Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism (760–778–8415 or 800–347–7746; www.palm-springs.org).