Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pow Wow Information and Etiquette

Pow Wow Traditions and Sharing:

By: Annlee Cakes Native American Regalia and Crafts:
Arkansas City, Kansas 67005

In my blog I will also share about The Native American Culture, Stories and Traditions.

Pow Wows were, and remain as the Native American people's way of meeting together, to join in dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships and to make new ones between the Clans, Tribes and Nations. At a Pow Wow no weapons of War were allowed save for the knife. Warriors were not allowed to fight.

The Warriors Dance arrived as a challenge back and forth. This Tradition is still with us today: On many reservations the Warriors Dance is private to registered members of the Tribe and Special people they invite. NO CAMERAS are allowed for the Warriors Dance, and this must be respected by all attending.

A Pow Wow is a time to renew thought of the old ways and to preserve a rich heritage. It is a sharing of stories, items exchanged and the feeding of all attending from the hunt and prosperity of the Tribe holding the Pow Wow. Friend or foes all were always fed! Fires were lit and dotted the night skies! Stories were told and sharing of good hunts.

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. As various tribes gathered together, they would share their songs, often changing the songs so singers of different tribes could join.

With these changes came the use of "vocals" to replace the words of the old songs. Thus, some songs today are sung in vocals with no words.

Yet they still hold special meaning to those who know the song. Many songs are still sung in native tongue either newly composed or revivals of old songs. These songs are reminders to the Indian people of their old ways and rich heritage.

Dancers have always been a very important part of the life of the American Indian. Most dancers seen at Pow Wows today are social dances which might have had different meanings in earlier days. Although dance styles and content have changed, their meaning and importance has not. The outfits worn by the dancers, like the styles of clothing today evolve over time, and we now call the outfits as Regalia.

The Native Culture is not a stagnant culture, but a vibrant and changing way of life. In Arkansas City, Kansas we have the Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum which has many Native American Artifacts and Pioneer Artifacts. The Cherokee Strip Land Rush occurred on September 16th, 1893.

Each year in Arkansas City, Kansas is a great Pow Wow you can attend and enjoy. All Nations Native American Pow Wow usually held in April.

Here are a few tips on: Etiquette for Pow Wow Visitors:

Bring some folding chairs for Seating is provided for the Warriors and Dancers but not for others. When you choose a place for your chairs be careful not to get in areas reserved for the Tribe Members. Use common sense and your eyes!

Never sit on the benches you will see around the Arena, They are ONLY for the dancers.

You may set up your chairs directly behind the benches, and courtesy suggests ask permission for they may have family and friends that deserve that honored placement, How ever, in all most every case they will be honored you asked and point you where to place your chairs to enjoy the Pow Wow.

You can take pictures of the Circle as the Warriors and Dancers dance. But, do not take an individuals picture unless you ask permission first. Never ever take a picture of a child’s regalia unless the family allows you to.

During the Pow Wow you will hear when they have a “Blanket Dance” announced by the MC. This is to lay a blanket on the ground where “ANY ONE” INCLUDING YOU may walk into the Circle and donate money to the Drum. While this is being done a song or songs will be sung and after you drop money upon the blanket YOU may dance in the Circle during the “Blanket Dance” regardless of whether you are wearing Regalia or not. This is an open invitation to all as visitors and new friends to join in the Pow Wow. This is based on the traditions of a warrior buying his way the First Time into the Circle. and is applicable to YOU as well in following traditions. One note here! If YOU do not desire to dance to the songs during the “Blanket Dance” then give the money to any dancer and request they drop it on the blanket for you!

As you enjoy the Pow Wow and sit or walk around: Always stand during the special songs: Example: Grand Entry, Flag songs, Prayer songs. You will hear the MC ask everyone to stand, and of course use your eyes. Men should remove their hats.

Ask questions! Any member of the Tribe will be honored you ask them a question, and if they cannot answer it will point you to someone that can. Pow Wows are also for fun! Sharing and enjoyment as well as Native American Pride in Heritage.

Most Pow Wows are held on sacred native Lands: Respect Mother Earth.

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