Big Time Event on April 6

Cal Poly Humboldt’s Indian Tribal & Educational Personnel Program (ITEPP) is hosting the 14th annual California Indian Big Time & Social Gathering on April 6th, at Cal Poly Humboldt’s West Gym from 11:00 am to 6:00 PM. 

This event is open to the community and sponsored by the Cal Poly Humboldt Library, American Indian College Fund, Council of American Indian Faculty and Staff, ITEPP, INRSP, CPH Department of Social Work and Native American Studies. Big Time is held to honor the rich cultures of the first peoples of California through songs, games, dances, community resources and arts & crafts. 

It is a drug and alcohol free event.

Big Time was created by HSU students and staff from the Multicultural center in 2008 seeking to promote culture, inclusion, prayer, art and medicine while acknowledging the ancestral and unceded lands of the Wiyot people on which Cal Poly Humboldt’s campus sits.

Note: Big time is not a Powwow. Though both are Indigenous peoples gatherings formed to celebrate, preserve and showcase culture, they are not the same and it is impolite to Indigenous peoples who celebrate both events to disregard their cultural differences.

A Powwow is a gathering, most common in the American South West and South East, hosted to celebrate and share culture through song, dance, food and art. Dance, music and regalia being some of the most known components of a Powwow, show Indigenous perseverance and presence post colonial settlement, are performed intertribally, though many have Great Plains origins. 

Big Times are derived from specific, California Native tribes who would gather annually to improve connections, share culture and discuss their futures. As California was colonized much later than other parts of the continent, many of the forms of prayer were kept intact and preserved, hence the want to celebrate these forms of resistance, presence and medicine through what is now known as “Big Time.”

“California Native people wanted to share our unique cultures, create spaces for intertribal togetherness, and assert our sovereignty and presence the same way Powwows do, and so Big Times were created,” said Olivia Chase, a Cal Poly Humboldt and ITEPP student who is a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and Tsnungwe descendant. 

Other than dancing, you will find Indigenous food, vendors, games, and crafts at Powwows and Big Times alike,” said Chase.

“As someone who grew up in her culture and is very protective of it, I live for the memories and good medicine that is created at Big Times where people from many Tribes or others who have never experienced our culture can meet and learn from another in that good way,” said Shobe Britton, Cal Poly Humboldt student, member of ITEPP, and enrolled member of The Round Valley Tribe. 

So much blood has been shed, and so much trust needs to be earned and respected again. I love that Cal Poly Humboldt understands that an event like this is needed for their Indigenous students, in order for us to feel safe and seen while attending here and not fear that we will forget our ways.”

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