PowWow: Get Up and Dance!
by Vikki McConnaughhay
For tribal people descended from the natives of
the American continents, powwows are times to gather together, to see brothers
and sisters of the tribe, to meet with friends old and new, and to learn the true
culture. People chat for hours, smile, laugh and dance. There are powwows
in many places throughout the year, and unlike certain ceremonies, which may be
private occasions limited to tribal participation, everyone who cares to visit
is welcome at a powwow. The March powwow in Denver is huge, filling the Denver
Typically, there is a lot of drumming and
dancing, and kids are encouraged to watch, dance and learn from others. There
also are usually booths and vendors. Sometimes there are dance contests, honors
bestowed and a princess selected. Powwows are a lot of fun. The drumming is
loud and beautiful and the spirit is festive and happy. Its like one big
Many of the people attending powwows wear outfits traditional to their tribe or
area. If they will be dancing, they often wear specific clothing and regalia
appropriate for the dances they will be performing. Some of the dances and the
outfits that go with them are:
Mens traditional dance. Photo courtesy of Thinkquest.
Traditional Dance: Men and
women dress all in leather, in clothing that may or may not include beadwork.
They dance to the beat slowly. They carry traditional things such as feather
fans and leather bags, and men sometimes wear a set of feather bustles on their backs.
Fancy Dance: Men dance this dance, sometimes adding a second
set of feather bustles on their shoulders. They
dance wildly and soar through the air.
Grass Dance: This
dance is performed by men wearing belts of thick shaggy strings hanging around their outfits. They
also wear headbands of various colors that hang down in their faces as if they
were hiding their faces.
Jingle Dance: Women
perform this dance, wearing dresses dripping with small cones made of tin that
jingle as they dance. They carry feather fans and wear bags on their hips.
Fancy Shawl Dance: This dance is done by women
in shiny beaded dresses wearing fancy shawls over their shoulders, like wings.
The shawls, decorated with pictures or designs, fly out as the dancers spin.
Tiny Toons: Young kids select their own kind of dances, as they
Here is a list of powwows coming up this month.
Everyone is welcome. Visit one if you have a chance, and have some fun!
5-7: Second Annual Golden Eagles Intertribal
Society Benefit Powwow, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg,
Mississippi. For information, e-mail: Joseph.Bohanon@usm.edu.
5-7: Middle Tennessee State University 5th
American Indian Festival, Tennessee Livestock Center, Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
All dancers welcome. All drummers welcome. Vendors by invitation only. For
information, visit: http://www.mtsu.edu/~powwow/.
6-7: Madison School District Powwow, 1431 E.
Campbell Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona. For information, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
12-14: North Central Native American Council Powwow,
Old Town Campgrounds, Old Town, Florida. For information, call: (352) 542-8317.
12-14: Apache Gold Casino Powwow. San Carlos,
Arizona. For information, visit: http://apachegoldcasinoresort.com/pow-wow.htm.
13: 12th Annual Mid-Winter Red Creek Festival,
Kline Center Gym, Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Vendors by
invitation. For information, call: (717) 677-8026.
13-14: CSU Long Beach Powwow, Long Beach,
California. For information, visit: http://www.csulb.edu/aux/alumni/chapters/
19-21: Calling of the Tribes Powwow, Grand Bois
Park, Bourg, Louisiana. For information, call: (985) 879-2373.
20-21: 30th Annual Denver March Powwow, Denver,
Colorado. For information, visit: http://www.denvermarchpowwow.org/.
26-27: University of Arizona Wildcat Powwow,
Beardown Field, Tucson, Arizona. For information, call: (520) 621-3835, vendors
call: Becky (520) 207-0841.
26-27: Flagstaff High School Native American Club
Powwow, 400 W. Elm Avenue, Flagstaff, Arizona. For information, e-mail:
26-28: Indio Springs Powwow, 84-245 Indio Springs
Parkway, Indio, California. For information, visit:
26-28: 39th Annual Florida Indian Hobbyist
Association Powwow, Savannah Recreational Area, Ft. Pierce, Florida. Vendors by
invitation only. For information, visit:
27-28: 16th Annual Natchez Powwow. Grand Village
of the Natchez Indians, Natchez, Mississippi. For information, visit: