Wikipedia

Pow Wow Etiquette: 10 Rules to Follow in and Out of the Arena

Alysa Landry
3/29/14

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.

Dress modestly.

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.”

Leonard Anthony Steve Darden, Milton Yazzie (Courtesy Leonard Anthony)

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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nativewomn's picture
nativewomn
Submitted by nativewomn on
You forgot, "Don't wear a freaking headdress if you're not supposed to, and no 'woo woo' noises.

Shelley TSivia Rabinovitch
Shelley TSivia ...
Submitted by Shelley TSivia ... on
PLEEEEASE...Listen to the Arena Director and/or MC when they say (over and over and...!!) "PARENTS, PLEASE KEEP YOUR CHILDREN OUT OF THE ARENA". Some of the fast and fancy dancers shouldn't have to keep watching out for some kid in tshirt and shorts who wants to dance at that same time!

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
. . . and no pointing or outbursts during announcements.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
. . . and no pointing or outbursts during announcements.

Erica Violet Lee
Erica Violet Lee
Submitted by Erica Violet Lee on
Somehow, policing the bodies & clothing choices of women at pow wows simply doesn't work with the legitimate values of "be respectful" and "be flexible". Have you ever been to a pow wow? It gets hot. Wearing shorts or skirts is absolutely fine, especially considering that men are often wandering around shirtless. Shaming people for being comfortable in their own skin is so colonial.

BART's picture
BART
Submitted by BART on
why is it that women are required to wear shaws an keep their shoulders covered ?

BART's picture
BART
Submitted by BART on
why is it that women are required to wear shaws an keep their shoulders covered ?

BART's picture
BART
Submitted by BART on
why is it that women are required to wear shaws an keep their shoulders covered ?

Barry Lee's picture
Barry Lee
Submitted by Barry Lee on
I always ask the presenter/committee members what protocol they want or use. During inter-tribals I ask the visitors that if they dance, and don't know how: "Ladies follow what the ladies do and men follow what the men do, appropriate to your age." It is my attempt to keep some girls from trying to bounce around like some male fancy dancer or some guy who is my age try to follow the same fancy dancer. It has happened and it's not pretty, and I look to the arena director for help.
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