Thousands mark new year with Native American history in downtown Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A decades-old New Year tradition in the central Valley drew thousands to downtown Fresno.

A two-day event celebrates the "new year" with Native American history.

It's a new beginning celebrated by honoring the past.

Drum circles and dance rang in the new year.

Each beat, a nod to the tradition and culture of close to 100 tribes represented at the Red Road Pow Wow, welcomed the new year.

"It's is who we are. This is what we're a part of," says Rene Duran Diaz from the Red Road Pow Wow committee.

For Alecia Morgan, because her home reservation is in Minnesota, she brings her four children ages from 5 - 10 to experience local pow wows.

"It's part of my duty culturally to pass it down to my children and make sure it doesn't die off even though we're far from the home reservation,' Morgan says.

They wanted to arrive early as to not miss participating grand entry.

Bullard High school student Ariana Murillo has been dancing for four years.

"They are supposed to move like the grass on the plains and then they have the cow bells on the bottom to emphasize each step," Murillo says. "Being a part of your culture is very important, not many people know where they come from."

Like generations past, sobriety takes center stage, something the teen says her friends support.

"If you want to be part of the pow wow, you want to avoid those things and not be consumed with those things in order to walk this road," she says.

organizers say through the event they bring purpose and a sense of belonging to younger generations.

"If we don't know where we come from, we dont know where were going and if we don't learn from our history, what do we have?" says Diaz.
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