Native American Pow-Wows Do's and Don'ts

This is my FAVORITE pow-wow singers...OMG I listen to this when I get down and need a pick me up!  Black Bear are one of the most elite powwow drum groups of the world today.

In this video they rock the house with one of the most powerful crow hops you will ever listen to.

 I have gone to our Occanneechi Saponi Pow-wows for many years, and here are some rules to help you understand what is going one.

Do's and Don't s to help you.

  • Be on time. The committee is doing everything possible to ensure that activities begin and run smoothly. Please cooperate in this regard.
  • Arena benches are reserved for dancers. Dancers wishing to reserve a space on the bench should place a blanket in that space before the dance begins. Please do not sit on someone else’s blanket unless invited. Uncovered benches are considered unreserved.
  • Listen to the Master of Ceremonies. He will announce who is to dance, and when.
  • Respect the position of the Head Man and Head Woman Dancers. Their role entitles them to start each song or set of songs. Please wait until they have started to dance before you join in.
  • When not dancing, be quiet and respect the arena
  • Show respect to the flags and Honor Songs by standing during “special” songs.” Stand in place until the sponsors of the song have danced a complete circle and have come around you, and then join in. If you are not dancing, continue to stand quietly until the song is completed.
  • While dancing at any paw wow, honor the protocol of the sponsoring group.
  • Some songs require that you dance only if you are familiar with the routine or are eligible to participate. Trot dances, Snake, Buffalo, etc. require particular steps or routines. If you are not familiar with these dances, observe and learn. Watch the head dancers to learn the procedures. Only veterans are permitted to dance some veteran’s songs, unless otherwise stated; listen to the MC for instructions.
  • The Flag Song, or Indian National Anthem, is sung when the American Flag is raised or lowered. Please stand and remove hats during the singing of this song. It is not a song for dancing.
  • Powwows are usually non-profit. It depends upon donations, raffles, blanket dances, etc. for support.
  • Certain items of religious significance should be worn only by those qualified to do so. Respect the traditions of Native American culture.
  • The Drums are sometimes closed, check with the head singer for permission to sing.
  • If at any time you are uncertain of procedure or etiquette, please check with the MC, Arena Director, or head singer. They will be glad to help you with your questions.
  • Take a chair or blanket. Most powwows will not have seating for the public or enough seating for everyone. Also remember that the benches in the arena are for dancers only.
  • No alcohol or drugs are allowed at powwows.
  • If taking pictures, asked the dancer first. Remember common courtesy and ask permission. Group photographs are usually alright to take, but you might want to ask the committee first.


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