Fiesta or Kewét
Memorial Weekend, Sunday, May 28, 2023
Malki’s annual Fiesta is a time of gathering together to share culture and traditions. It is also the major fundraising event for the Museum. Each year hundreds of both natives and non-natives come to participate in this unique event which has been an annual celebration since 1966, when the Kewét (the Cahuilla word for fiesta) tradition was revived after 20 years.
The first Fiesta drew a crowd of about 5,000 people, with about one-third comprised of natives from all over California. Many local natives have attended since they were children and have grown up watching first-hand as their culture comes alive in the center stage with dancing, drums, bird singing, native arts and crafts, and the smell of fresh cooked Indian Fry Bread. At the first Fiesta there was a large amount of pit-roasted barbequed beef, served with other traditional foods such as corn, beans, and homemade tortillas, and these foods are still served every year.
The Indian dancers and singers represent several tribes from southern California, and many of the vendors in the Ramada booths are Native Americans from all over the Southwestern States. The Ramada booths were constructed by volunteers especially for this annual event, and were made from alder forks, willow, arrow weed, and palm fronds which were hauled out of the local desert canyons.
The Fiesta is held each year on the Sunday of Memorial weekend in May. Any vendors interested in displaying their art or merchandise should contact the museum.