Smithsonian Institution, Katherine Fogden
Women's Traditional Dance competition 2005 National Pow Wow

Pow Wow Dance Style Origins: Women's Traditional Dance, Part 6


Traditional Women dancers are looked on with reverence as the elegant presence at a pow wow. Traditional is a dance that exemplifies dignity, grace and modesty.

The women can move in several ways. Some move in a bounce style, originated by the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota of the north. Some Traditional Women dancers zigzag or sidestep in a circle around the arena, always with a bounce movement.

The dress is usually elegant yet simple; the women always carry an eagle feather fan which they raise in the air from time to time as the songs indicate, with an honor beat to show respect and honor for the men and the drum. The women wear a shawl that is kept close to the body, often with very intricate beadwork in patterns that reflect the tribe and family, and they carry an awl and knife on their belt. Their feet never rise above the ground.

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HighStepper's picture
Submitted by HighStepper on
Not always true. Women from the Columbia River Plateau dance high step style, where their feet leave the ground in a more lively action.