Pow Wow Etiquette
Condensed by Native Village

1. Be on time. The Committee does everything possible keep activities running smoothly and on time.

2. Appropriate dress and behavior is required in the Arena.  Anyone who disrespects this rule will be asked to leave by the Arena Director.
Dancers, please wear dance clothes.

3. Arena benches are reserved for dancers. Dancers who want to reserve a seat should place a blanket on that space before the dance begins. Please do not sit on someone else's blanket. Uncovered benches are considered unreserved.

4. Listen to the Master of Ceremonies. He will announce the dances..

5. Respect the Head Man and Head Woman Dancers. They start each song or set of songs.  Wait until they begin dancing before you join in.

6. Dance as long and as hard as you can. When not dancing, please be quiet and respect the Arena

7. Remember that you may be taller than the person behind you and blocking their view.  Please make room, step aside, sit, or kneel so they can see.

8. Stand respectfully in place for the flag and honor songs. Wait until the sponsors dance a complete circle, then when they come around to you, join in. If you are not dancing, please stand quietly until the song is done.

9. While dancing at any Pow Wow, always honor the sponsors' protocol.

10.Some songs require the dancers know the routines or be eligible to dance. Among them are the trot, snake, and buffalo dance with require certain steps and routines. To learn them, watch the head dancers.
Only Veterans may dance some Veteran's songs. Listen to the MC for instructions.

11. The Flag Song, or Indian National Anthem, is sung when the American Flag is raised or lowered. Please stand and remove you hats during the song.

12. Powwows are usually non-profit and depend on donations as part of their support. Blanket dances are a way of raising funds. Anyone can drop money onto the blanket to help with expenses.  Support the Committee and buy raffle tickets.

13. Certain sacred and religious items may only be worn by those qualified to do so. Please respect this tradition.

14. Giveaways are part of Indian generosity. One gives away gifts to recognize and appreciate those who honored him.  The recipient thanks everyone involved in the giving.
All specials and giveaways must be planned with the Master of Ceremonies.  It is traditional to contribute money to the drum for this request. Clear this through the MC.

15. The Drums are sometimes closed. Check with the Head Singer for permission to sing.

16. If you are ever uncertain about procedure or etiquette, please check with the MC, Arena Director, or Head Singer. They are happy to answer questions.

17. Take a chair. Most Pow Wows don't have public (or enough) seats. Benches in the arena are for dancers only.

18. No alcohol or drugs are allowed at Pow Wows.

19. Ask the dancer before taking pictures. Group photographs are usually permitted, but ask the committee first.

20. Remember that powwows may be slightly different among  tribes or in areas of the country. Each group has its own customs and methods.


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