On Saturday, April 7, the Indian Tribal and Educational Personnel Program (ITEPP) will be hosting their annual California Indian Big Time and Social Gathering event. For the last decade, ITEPP has hosted this event to connect students and community members with Native American ties.
Although the event is geared towards Native American peoples, everyone is welcome to join in on the activities. Paula D. Tripp, the academic advisor at ITEPP, shared a few things to look forward to at Big Time.
“We have six dance groups coming in from Northern and Central California,” Tripp said “We have vendors, a couple different food booths, we have people sharing arts and cultural demonstrations, there’s just multiple things happening throughout the day.”
The term “Big Time” is a loose translation of what many tribes say in their own dialects. Vincent Feliz, the Campus Assistance Response and Engagement (CARE) services coordinator, works closely with ITEPP and was able to give a brief history of the event.
“The term Big Time comes from Northern Central California. They have gatherings and it’s described more in their native language, but the English way to say it is Big Time,” Feliz said. “Dances that go in a big round house that they have and they gather and sing at hours and hours at a time, sometimes the whole weekend. Ceremonial items will be brought out in public that have been in families for a long time.”
Along with all the activities and events, there will also be about 70 vendors there. Among the things for sale will be hand-woven baskets, apparel, arts and crafts. Traditional hand games and basket weaving will be demonstrated and taught. There will also be activities just for children to participate in.
“We have special activities for youth, kindergarten through sixth grade,” Tripp said. “We have our animal tales adventure, so they get to go with the Social Work Club and visit the Wildlife Center. They go to the fish hatchery and they do some activities in the art gallery. They’re going to get to explore the campus and we think that’s a great opportunity for potential future HSU students to check out campus.”
For the past few years, hundreds of people have made it a point to attend the event. There are families that come and perform every year at the event and it’s a time that brings so many others from different backgrounds together. It’s a day that celebrates the Native American culture and revels in the surrounding community.
“This Big Time is an expected thing,” Feliz said. “If we didn’t have the Big Time, I’m sure a lot of people would miss it.”
The 11th annual California Indian Big Time and Social Gathering is a free public event open to the community on April 7 from 11a.m. to 6 p.m. in HSU’s West Gym.
Photos courtesy of Native Cultures Fund