California Pacific Exposition San Diego 1935-1936

Indian Village


About 150 Indians from thirty tribes occupied Indian Village, a survival from the 1915 exposition at the northeast end of the grounds. They made arrows, baskets and rugs, portrayed the “Sun Dance” and “Snake Dance,” and took part in pretended stagecoach holdups and attacks on covered wagons. Willow Bird, described as “the son of a Pueblo-Apache chief,” painted kachina images on the ramparts of Indian Village. Unlike the 1915 Indian exhibit, where education was a primary goal, the 1935 exhibit inclined toward commercial exploitation. Many acts were borrowed from Wild West Shows, but were not as exciting. Indians were told to thump heavily on their drums to drown out barkers on the Midway. Because the 1935 Indian Village did not generate the excitement of the original 1915-16 Village, Exposition directors returned the compound to the Boy Scouts.