The Aquarium of the Pacific Hosts 18th Annual Moompetam America Indian Festival

The festival will celebrate California’s indigenous coastal tribes and their connections to the ocean and environment.

It will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept.  17 – 18, 2022. Doors open at 9:00 am and close at 5 p.m. The festival will take place inside The Aquarium of The Pacific. Reservations are required. Staff says they are expecting to see between 12,000-14,000 people over the course of the weekend.

The festival will have traditional music, dance, storytelling, cultural crafts and demonstrations. Some special guests and participants include the members of Tongva, Chumash, Acjacheman, Costanoan, Luiseno, and Kumeyaay tribes. The American Indian artists will demonstrate and display cultural materials such as basketry, items to use as adornments, and artifacts. 

“This festival will let guests and younger generations gain an understanding of the Coastal American Indian tribes that have lived in California for many generations,” said Coleman. Coleman also stated that the dance demonstrations are a popular part of the festival because it raises spirits bringing everyone together.

The Aquarium of the Pacific will present the Heritage Award to Cindi Alvitre who teaches American Indian studies at California State University, Long Beach. Each year, the Aquarium honors someone within the community of Long Beach.  Alvitre is a Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act coordinator. Alvitre also is a descendant of the Tongva tribe.

Attendees will have the opportunity to connect on a face-to-face individual level, ask questions and take pictures. The Moopetam American Indian festival started over 20 yeas ago and is a part of the efforts of the Aquarium of The Pacific to celebrate, welcome, and connect to diverse local communities.

“We are honored by the presence of many elders in the local American Indian community,” said Coleman. Coleman’s most memorable part of the festival is it allows guests to learn from the people who lived on this land for generations and their unique understanding, connections to, and preservation of the ocean.“We are honored by the presence of many elders in the local American Indian community,” said Coleman.  “The energy you feel walking through the doors is one big community celebration,” Coleman continued.

For more information about the festival and the aquarium, visit the Aquarium of the Pacific’s website here.