Pow Wow Eitquette
The Grand Entry signifies the beginning of the powwow. The dancers enter the arena single file in a clockwise direction following the pattern of the sun. The Eagle Staff and other flag bearers lead the procession and no dancer may enter until those respected leaders have entered.
At the center of the arena is the drum. The host drum offers a special song for the Grand Entry procession. Different styles of dance are readily apparent in this opening ceremony, as the dancers enter as groups according to the style of dancing in which they will be competing. The dancers create a circle on the perimeter of the dance arena, representing the sacred circle. After all dancers have entered the arena, the appropriate flag songs are sung.
The Flag Song to Indians holds the same regard as the national anthem does to other Americans.
We ask that everyone stand and remove their hats in respect for this ceremony.
A few rules of etiquette to follow during the Pow Wow:
- Do enjoy yourself as you watch the dancers.
- Do feel free to join in the inter-tribal dances by invitation of the Master of Ceremonies.
- Do be respectful of American Indian traditions and stand when asked to. Remember to remove hats as a sign of respect.
- Do ask permission before taking pictures of dancers.
- Do visit with craftsmen and women and ask questions about their art and skill.
- Do not take pictures during the Flag Song, Honor Dances, Competition, or if the arena director asks for all cameras to be shut down.
- Occasionally, there is a special or sacred moment in which photography is not allowed. Please respect our traditions.
- Please try and pick up your own litter and throw it in the trash.
- Most of all have fun. We work had to make this an enjoyable time for you. Make new friends and renew old friendships.
- Do not touch the dancers or their regalia. Not only are the feathers fragile, but are also considered sacred objects. Some of the outfits or ornaments signify special events or honors in a person's life, special religious traditions, or symbols rooted in legend. A respected family member may have made these items or are heirlooms passed down. Many of the handmade outfits can cost thousands of dollars.
- Do not sit on the chairs immediately around the arena. These are reserved for the dancers only.
- Do donate money to the drum. Although this is a free event, a special "blanket dance" is traditionally called for in which the audience show its appreciation for the hosts and the drums.
- There is No Smoking inside the building.
- No alcoholic beverages or drugs are allowed.