John Sanchez,
celebrating Native American cultures

John Sanchez is an associate professor in the College of Communications, specializing in news media ethics; yet, he also is one of the nation’s leading scholars of the contemporary American Indian experience. As a member of the Apache Nation, John is the only American Indian faculty member at Penn State.

In addition to supporting the College of Communications students and faculty at Penn State, John coordinates the annual New Faces of an Ancient People Traditional American Indian Powwow, where American Indian dancers and native drum groups from American Indian reservations and communities across North America and Canada travel hundreds and thousands of miles to State College for one of the largest American Indian powwows in the country. The event is co-sponsored by Penn State and the State College Area School District.

The two-day powwow is held every spring and typically draws close to 150 American Indian dancers from across North America and more than 6,000 visitors from the Central Pennsylvania area and beyond. This powwow provides an exceptional opportunity for more than 160 volunteers from Pennsylvania to share their time with American Indian cultures—an impactful event that would not be possible without John’s devotion to his American Indian heritage and to the State College community.