Penn State University

Pennsylvania Pow Wow to End an 11-Year Run


For 11 years, John Sanchez has coordinated The New Faces of an Ancient People Traditional American Indian Powwow, which brings dancers, drum groups and pow wow goers from across North America and Canada to a pow wow outside of what’s considered typical Indian Country. But Sanchez told ICTMN that this is the final year for the pow wow.

“This is the 11th year, and the last year, and because I coordinate it on my own, I just don’t have the time to devote to it and keep my day job,” Sanchez said, who squeezed in an interview before heading off to teach a class.

Sanchez, Apache, is a professor in the College of Communications at Penn State University, where he is the only American Indian faculty member.

"Penn State was very receptive to the kinds of things I wanted to bring to this university. I just bought burial plots here," he told in a previous interview. "I see myself here for the rest of my life."

Before coming to the university, Sanchez taught American Indian leadership and politics at American University in Washington, D.C. Currently, he teaches media ethics at Penn State and is one of the nation’s leading scholars of the contemporary American Indian experience.

Sanchez said he started the pow wow to give back. “When I was kid, there was a self-esteem problem with a lot of native people,” said Sanchez, who also worked through those same issues as a child. “My professor had a sit-down with me, and he told me that I should be proud to be native person.” He named the pow wow “new faces on an ancient people” after the message his professor left with him. “I can’t believe I had second thoughts [about being prideful],” he said.


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grandmaof3's picture
Submitted by grandmaof3 on
Prof. Sanchez, I was fortunate enough to dance in this powwow a few times while living in PA. I'm sorry to see it pass away, but maybe someone else will take up leadership in the future. You did such a wonderful job organizing and running this event. Thank you for serving your community and people in this way. Wado!