Pow Wow Etiquette: 10 Rules to Follow in and Out of the Arena
Whether you’re a novice or veteran attending a pow wow, certain behaviors are expected while you’re on the grounds or in the arena. Although customs may vary from tribe to
tribe—and even from year to year—some basic rules remain the same.
Some breaches of etiquette are simply considered disrespectful while others may result in the offender being removed from the arena. Here are some tips to make sure your behavior is appropriate and your visit is memorable.
It is not appropriate to wear hats, swimsuits, extremely short skirts or shorts or halter tops. Do not wear T-shirts or other items of clothing with profanity or inappropriate slogans.
If you plan to participate in dances that are open to the public, keep in mind that some tribes require women to wear a shawl or cover their shoulders.
Always listen to the master of ceremonies or announcer
“The MC will tell you when you can photograph [and] he will tell you when you can dance,” said Leonard Anthony, a Navajo gourd dancer and MC. “Usually visitors or outsiders can dance during the inter-tribal dance, but you need to listen for an announcement before you participate.”
Stand up during the grand entry
Unless you are physically unable to stand, you are expected to show respect for the dancers and rise as they enter the arena.
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