What Is Proper Etiquette When Attending a Powwow?


Quick Answer

Proper etiquette for attending a powwow includes punctuality, appropriate dress, appropriate behavior, a willingness to dance, honoring protocols, and not bringing alcohol and drugs. While photographs are often allowed, it is important to ask the dancer or group for permission before doing so.

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Full Answer

It is important to respect the committee organizing the powwow by showing up on time. Obey any particular rules of clothing for the arena, and remember to bring dance clothes if planning to dance. The Master of Ceremonies makes specific announcements about who is dancing and when, so pay attention to both him and the Head Man and Head Woman. These two individuals start either individual songs or sets of songs, and they must start to dance before anyone else does so. Pay attention to special honor songs and special flags and show respect by standing up until the sponsors dance a full circle around the immediate area.

Other songs require standing and removing any headgear. One such song is the Flag Song, also known as the Indian National Anthem. Remember to observe any special dances or dance moves that are unfamiliar before attempting them, and check with the arena director, Master of Ceremonies or head singer about any other social etiquette questions.

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