Because powwows are sacred events steeped in tradition and protocol, an explanation of some of the details is provided so that you do not, by mistake, offend anyone or appear disrespectful. Remember that the powwow is a traditional celebration and ceremony, to which you have been invited.
Photography and Recording
- Please remember these few guidelines about photographing or recording persons or events at Powwow.
- Please do not take photographs or videotape of individuals outside the Arena without first getting their permission.
- Please do not tape the songs unless the Head Singer of a Drum gives permission. Even if permission has been granted, the Emcee may request that specific songs not be recorded.
- Photographing or recording of the Grand Entry or the ceremony to recover a fallen Eagle Feather is strictly forbidden. Videotaping in general is strongly discouraged.
- Please listen carefully to the emcee; he will announce when photography is not allowed.
Chairs around the perimeter of the Dance Arena are reserved for the dancers. Dancers enter and exit the Dance Arena from the east. Please be respectful and avoid obstructing their pathway. Also, avoid standing in front of someone preparing to dance or those singing.
Do not touch any item of clothing, jewelry, or accessories of the dancers. Many of these items are fragile or sacred. Many are very old and have been handed down from ancestors.
Listen carefully to our Master of Ceremonies. He will explain what each song, dance and ceremony means. He will also give information about when photography and taping are allowed, and when visitors are invited to join the dancing.
It is respectful to stand and remove your hat whenever the Eagle Staff is brought into, or taken from the Arena. It is also respectful to stand during the opening ceremonies, the closing song, and other ceremonial songs. Listen to the Emcee for instructions.
All veterans should participate in the Veterans' Dance, which is part of the opening ceremonies following the Grand Entry.
Visitors are welcome to enter the Dance Arena during Intertribal Dancing, and by invitation during special songs. Listen carefully to the Emcee. He will tell you when visitors are permitted to enter the Arena and join in the dancing. At other times, please respect the sacredness of the Arena by not entering it.
Appropriate dress for women is a long skirt or dress, and arms should be covered. Men should wear shirts with sleeves, and pants. Shorts are not appropriate.
Random walking, running or playing in the Dance Arena is strictly prohibited.
Pointing with a finger, particularly the index finger, is considered impolite. If you must indicate a specific individual, do so with the eyes or a nod of the head.
Do not touch an Eagle Feather that has fallen to the ground. If you discover a fallen Eagle Feather, guard it and notify a member of the powwow staff. There are ceremonies that have to be performed to return the fallen Eagle Feather.
Feel free to talk to the dancers and powwow staff outside of the Arena. They usually are very happy to answer your questions about their clothing, dances and culture.
Drugs and alcohol are strictly forbidden on powwow grounds. Violators will be removed.