Pow Wow’s do have guidelines & etiquette, but it’s not something scary that should deter you from attending one. Most of the time the MC will announce things to do and things not to do, you’ll just have to listen and pay attention. If you have questions, you can always ask him in between events when he is not busy.
The outfits that the dancers wear is called Regalia.
The circle in the middle of the Pow Wow is called the Arena. It is where the dancers will be dancing. It has been blessed and is a sacred area. It is off limits to non dancers. The seats closest to the Arena are reserved for dancers and their families.
The Drum Circle will be near the Arena. It is also blessed and is sacred. Never enter the Drum Circle. Never touch the drum. Never attempt to play the drum. It is off limits to non Drum Circle members.
Photography of participants while inside the Arena is generally acceptable. The MC will state otherwise, if it is not, which is generally during Grand Entry, Veteran’s things or for Prayer Dances.
Pow Wows will allow attendee’s to dance inside the Arena for specific things. The MC will let you know. The Pow Wows that I have been to generally allow any and all veterans to be a part of the Grand Entry & to participate in the Veteran’s Dancing. Most MC’s will also call an Intertribal Dance and state that anyone who wishes may come into the Arena to dance at that time. Traditional Dance is what’s called for during an Intertribal. It’s easy to just follow along with someone who joins the arena at that time who is in Regalia. It’ll be the slow moving, heel & slight stomp to the beat shuffle.
- Call it anything other than Regalia.
- Don’t touch a dancer or their Regalia.
- Don’t take photo’s of anyone without first asking permission.
- Try to be the stereotypical “Indian” that you might see/know from films or television.
- Do not try to discuss this stereotypical “Indian” with anyone at a Pow Wow.
- Show respect by standing for The Grand Entry and the Flag Song.
- Do join in and dance when invited. It really is a wonderful experience!
- Listen to the MC for clues.
- Visit the food and goods vendors.
- Buy a raffle ticket or two. You could win something awesome & help pay for the cost of the Pow Wow.
- Bring a lawn chair.
- Do try some frybread.
- Have fun!
I have attended a fair number of Pow Wows that have been held in my area. I have also helped organize two and have danced Intertribally and as a Pow Wow Dancer in some of these.
2016 POW WOWS:
March 19 – 20: Natchez Pow Wow – Grand Village of the Natchez Indians | 400 Jefferson Davis BLVD (just off HWY 61 S) | Natchez, Mississippi
April 17 – 19: United Cherokee Pow Wow – 3550 Creek Path Road | Guntersville, Alabama
May 09: White Buffalo Pow Wow – Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo | 2272 North Coley Road | Tupelo, Mississippi
November: Veteran’s Day Pow Wow – Choctaw, Mississippi