Pow Wow singers are very important figures in the Native American culture. Without them there would be no dancing. The songs are of many varieties, from religious to war to social.
I remember my first Pow-Wow and how the music of the drums seemed to keep beat with my heart and soul. At first I felt embarrassed and was unsure whether I could perform the Native dances or would look foolish. It is certainly normal to not be confident, but it is not until you join the circle of dance that your best comes out.
Although the Pow Wow is seen by Non-Native Americans as entertainment, it provides an opportunity for refreshing and respect of sacred tradition for Native Americans. So, in order to be respectful, etiquette must be observed.
There are many forms of etiquette that must be observed at a Pow Wow. The etiquette includes:
Ask permission before taking pictures of the dancers, native elders or other Native American persons. This demonstrates respect.
Always stand and remove hats when requested for special songs or ceremonies.
Follow the directions of the Pow Wow master of ceremony and other Pow Wow officials.
Never bring alcohol or drugs to a Pow Wow or attend one if intoxicated.
Bring your own seating, such as a lawn chair, because seating and seating areas may be reserved for Native American elders, officials or special guests. A lawn chair is portable and can be moved easily.
If Non-Native Americans are invited to participate in a dance, be sure to respect the head dancer(s), and enter into the dance area by invitation waiting for others to go ahead of you if they are already in the dance area.
Donate to the requests for gifting the elders or donating to special Native American activities.
Lastly, remember you are a guest and must be very respectful of the Native American culture and traditions.
Article by CherokeeCloud
Re-published – April 6, 2007