10th Benefit Pow Wow

Annual RRPS Pow Wow Honors American Indian Culture
Posted on 04/25/2017
The sound of drums and sacred chants, the color of ceremonial costumes, and the delicious odor of traditional Native American cooking are all part of one of Rio Rancho Public Schools’ most colorful annual celebrations, the Benefit Pow Wow.  Families from tribes and pueblos across the region travel to Rio Rancho to display and sell arts and crafts, dance, visit, and participate in the festivities.    

View photos here!  

Pow Wow grand entryEvent highlights include Gourd Dancers and the spectacular Grand Entries where participants of all ages wearing their native dress escort the ceremonial Eagle staff and the American and New Mexican flags into the arena.  Traditional dance competitions are held in several categories to the beat of ceremonial drums.  The featured drum groups are Black Eagle (Northern) and Pumpkin Vyne (Southern), but all drums are welcome and many other drum groups participate.  Other activities at the Pow Wow include a student art display and contest, raffles, giveaways, vendor displays of native arts and crafts, and food booths featuring fry bread, Indian tacos, and other traditional Native American cuisine.

Pow Wow dancersThe event 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 way for Native American families to bring the community together, to share their culture with others, and raise awareness about NAPAC with Rio Rancho parents. 

Rio Rancho Public Schools enrolls students from all of New Mexico’s Native American tribes as well as many tribes throughout the nation.  The district has more than 1,000 students who identify as American Indian, 5%-6% of the total student population.

Pow Wow familyA percentage of the proceeds from the annual Pow Wow help fund the District’s Native American Summer Academy, which is designed to integrate Native American culture with core academic areas.  The program focuses on instilling a sense of unity and community among urban native youth along with providing an educational, cultural, and enriching experience for young American Indian students.  This program earned RRPS a national “District of Distinction” award from District Administration magazine in 2014, recognizing innovative and established projects and initiatives that yield quantifiable benefits and could be replicated by other school districts.