Wikipedia

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

Alysa Landry
3/29/14

The seats nearest the dancing circle are reserved for singers, dancers and drummers

If you’re a spectator, do not sit here.

“A first-time visitor looks for the best seats possible,” said Dennis Zotigh, cultural specialist at the National Museum of the American Indian. “The seats closest to the arena seem to be the best seats, but that’s because the dancers stand up and immediately begin dancing.”

Pow wow grounds should be considered sacred places

A blessing is performed ahead of time and your actions should show respect for this religious and sacred ceremony.

United Tribes International Pow Wow Facebook“It’s like going to a church,” Anthony said. “If you’re going to a pow wow, you need to honor where the dances came from, the traditions and story behind them.”

Refrain from negative thoughts or comments

The blessing that takes place beforehand sets the tone of the event and sanctifies the area, Zotigh said. Although the blessing is usually not open to the public, its spiritual nature should be taken seriously.

“Our elders have taught us not to dance or sing with negative karma,” he said. “That karma will expand and affect others.”

Do not bring alcohol, drugs or firearms to a pow wow

An exception is tobacco used for blessings or as gifts. Smoking is considered disrespectful, Zotigh said.

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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.

Juliet's picture
Juliet
Submitted by Juliet on
For my fellow non-Indians: Don't handle dancers' garments or regalia. Don't pick up loose feathers: find a pow-wow official.

Juliet's picture
Juliet
Submitted by Juliet on
Erica and Bart: The dress code is a cultural matter. Pow-wows aren't open-air secular festivals, as many of the dances have religious or spiritual significance.

tmsyr11's picture
tmsyr11
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
Indian kids attending can pick up (claim) their moms or dads at the announcers booth before going home.

tmsyr11's picture
tmsyr11
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
Unless you were Russell Means, you didn't have to stay standing up during the display of the US Flag. Unless you are Vietnam combat veteran, or any of our returning combat veterans of foreign wars, you've earned the right to decide to stand or sit down during the display of the US Flag.
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