Native American singers are part of Native American Day at the state Capitol in downtown Sacramento. (Sacramento State/Craig Koscho)

California Native American Day celebrates its 50th anniversary Friday, Sept. 22, and Sacramento State again will be represented by a strong contingent of student, faculty and staff volunteers.

The free celebration will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the south steps of the state Capitol. This year’s theme is “Tribal Sovereignty – Sovereigns Working Together,” recognizing the importance of communication and cooperation between tribal communities and state government.

Events include the Tule River Color Guard, cultural dancers, traditional artists, and guest speakers from the state, including Gov. Jerry Brown. Tribal elders and Native American veterans will be recognized with special honors.

About 50 exhibition booths and 14 vendors offering Native American jewelry and other items will be on site.

The Education Pavilion will feature leading California Native cultural arts practitioners sharing their knowledge of cultural practices and indigenous California languages, Tule reed demonstrations and basketry art, and the "gift of acorns." An Arts and Crafts Expo and food vendors will be open throughout the event.

Sacramento State has traditionally sent 40 to 70 volunteers to the event, says Annette Reed, professor of Native American Studies and Ethnic Studies. She notes that it’s more than just a volunteer assignment for them; former students have reported how much they enjoy the dancers and talking with tribal elders.

“There are so many events going on,” Reed says. “If you haven’t gone, it’s a huge experience that doesn’t happen anywhere else quite like this.”

Legislative sponsors are Sen. Ben Hueso, representing District 40, and Assemblywoman Marie Waldron, representing District 75. The event is presented by the California State Tribal Liaisons and the Southern, Northern and Central California Tribal Chairmen’s Association. The Tribal Host Nation is the Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association.

To volunteer for the event, contact Reed at (916) 278-6363 or For more information on the event, visit - Craig Koscho

Sac State volunteers for Native American Da