Tips on powwow ettiquette

October 09, 2003

  • Pay attention and listen. All are welcome at powwow celebrations to learn and share in the cultural and social traditions but are expected to show respect and understanding for these events.

  • Never refer to a dancer's regalia as a costume. Regalia is created by the dancer or a respected family member or friend. The feathers in particular are sacred and highly valued. Often, pieces of the regalia are family heirlooms.

  • Never touch a dancer's regalia without asking permission.

  • Be courteous when taking photographs.

  • Do not enter the dance arena after it has been blessed. The only time guests may enter the arena is to participate during intertribal dances, round dances, blanket dances or during an honoring dance announced by the master of ceremonies.

  • Please stand during Grand Entry, when the Eagle Staff and American flag will be brought into the dance arena, and remain standing during the Flag Song and invocation. Men should remove hats.

  • Do not sit on chairs immediately around the dance arena. This seating is reserved for dancers, drums and other powwow participants.

  • Never record a drum group without permission of the head singer. The master of ceremonies might announce that no photographs or recording take place during certain songs.

  • No alcohol or drugs.

  • Respect all natives and non-natives, especially elders.

- Source:

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