New exhibit at Green Library celebrates 47 years of the Stanford Powwow

May 2, 2018
Josh Schneider
Stanford Powwow photograph by Dean Eyre III

The Stanford University Archives and the Native American Cultural Center are pleased to announce a new exhibit opening this week in the South Lobby of Green Library. Celebrating Native Community: 47 Years of the Stanford Powwow will be on display at Green Library through June 30, 2018.

Developed in partnership with the Archives, the exhibit was co-curated by Denni Dianne Woodward (Mescalero Apache; Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, and Associate Director, Native American Cultural Center / American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Program) and Dean Eyre III (Class of 1980, former Administrative Assistant for Undergraduate Advising and Research). 


Stanford Powwow, 1990s

The exhibit features both early and contemporary coverage of Stanford Powwows. It includes photographs of Powwow dancers, Planning Committee members, and Native students and alumni (many taken by Dean), Powwow posters (including the earliest, dating from 1971), programs, memorabilia, student publications, and a video installation featuring members of the 2017 Stanford Powwow Planning Committee, created by alumnus Corey Soap (Cherokee, Class of 2018). 

An accompanying display highlighting related circulating books held by Stanford Libraries was developed by Reference and Instruction Librarian, Bogdana Marchis. 

Stanford PowwowAbout the Stanford Powwow

The Stanford American Indian Organization was formed in October 1970 to create community and a collective voice for its students. SAIO’s original mission included institutionalization of culturally-relevant curriculum, establishment of a Native community center and an ethnic theme house—and permanent removal of the Stanford “Indian Mascot.”

SAIO membership initiated a petition to remove the single disrespectful image of the mascot one month later—and pledged to host the first Stanford Powwow in Spring 1971, to bring a more diverse indigenous presence to the Stanford campus. The Stanford Powwow continues to be a celebration of Native American lifeways—nurturing family and community, perpetuating tradition, and sharing stories, song, music, and dance.

The Stanford Powwow is the largest student-run event of its kind in the Country—attracting world class competitive dancers, drummers, and singers from across the U.S. and Canada. The greater San Francisco Bay Area is home to more than 150,000 Native Americans—making it the second largest urban concentration of indigenous peoples in the U.S. after Los Angeles. The Stanford Powwow is the last of the Bay Area’s big gatherings that began partially as a result of the Indian Relocation Act that moved Native families from reservations to cities across the Country from the mid-1950s to the 1970s.

The Native community on campus is known for SAIO’s Powwow—a widely-respected major event that enhances the recruitment of Native undergraduate, graduate, and professional students to Stanford. Native alumni return to campus for the Annual Powwow in greater numbers than for Reunion Homecoming in the Fall.

This year’s Stanford Powwow will be held Mother’s Day weekend, May 11-13. Please visit the Powwow website for a detailed schedule of activities.

About the Materials Exhibited

Materials exhibited are drawn from the collections of the Stanford University Archives. Many additional materials held by the Native American Cultural Center were lent and digitized for inclusion in the exhibit. All digital surrogates created for this exhibit will be described and added to the Stanford Digital Repository and made accessible online through Stanford's catalog, Searchworks, as well as through Spotlight at Stanford exhibits, including the Stanford Community Centers and Stanford Activism exhibits.

For more information about any of the collection materials included in this exhibit, please contact the University Archives at

Stanford Powwow poster, 1971

About Special Collections & University Archives Exhibits

The Stanford University Libraries’ Department of Special Collections and University Archives acquires, preserves, and provides access to primary source materials that support the research needs of the Stanford community and beyond, including through the creation of exhibits.

Share your Materials with the Archives!

The Archives collects a wide range of materials from students and alumni, including print and digital publications, posters, photographs, audio and video, email, websites, social media, and more. Our All Stanford initiative is aimed at improving our documentation of Stanford women, the Queer community, communities of color, and activists. Help the Archives expand the range of voices and materials in our collections! Learn how at or contact us at

Denni Dianne Woodward and Dean Eyre III contributed to this announcement.