An Introduction To Powwows By N. Bruno Edited 10.22.11 Background Image: from N. Bruno's personal archives. What is a Powwow? A Powwow is a time for Native American people to get together. They join in dancing, singing, visiting friends and making new friendships in a festive and inclusive environment. Social Powwows A Social Powwow has many opportunities for all people to participate. There are a lot of Intertribal songs, where anyone can join in the dancing. Image: from N.Bruno's Personal Archives Competition Powwows Competition Powwows are usually centered around people dancing to win prizes. Image Source: http://www.rn-t.com/view/full_story/9273428/article-Running-Water-Powwow-returns-to-Ridge-Ferry-Park People to Know at Powwow There are a few important people you should know about at a powwow. They are the: 1. Emcee 2. Arena Director 3. Drum Groups 4. Dancers 5. Vendors 6. You 7. The volunteers and staff The Emcee The Emcee is the man (or woman) at a special stage or table, who acts as the announcer. The Emcee also lets you know when you can join in, so be sure to listen to him closely! The Arena Director The Arena Director is the man (or woman) in charge of the dance arena. This person is sometimes carrying a small whip, he is also called a “Whip Man”. The Drum Groups The Drum groups are made up of singers and drummers. The drum groups act as the heartbeat for the entire powwow. They motivate the dancers, giving them the drive to dance. http://www.prairieisland.org/Summer060253.gif The Dancers There are many different kinds of dancers, but the Dancers are frequently the part people come to see. People come from miles away to dance at Powwows, and other people come from just as far to watch. The Vendors The Vendors come to the PowWows to sell things that they made. Most of these vendors sell: • • • • jewelry, clothes, food or other cool things Many items are based on Native American culture. Image: from N.Bruno's personal archives You One of the most important people of the PowWow is You. You are among the people that come and enjoy the event. Image: from N.Bruno's personal archives Staff and Volunteers Without these amazing people, the event couldn't happen. They: • • • • • Plan the event (Location, fliers, floorplan, etc) Make sure everyone is there that needs to be set up clean up make sure the event runs smoothly from beginning to end Please take the time to say "Thank you" to these lovely people when you are at your next powwow. IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW! Because we want this event to go smoothly, there are some rules that we ask you to follow, and some things that you should know. These rules are often called “PowWow Etiquette” The Regalia Please don't refer to a dancer’s regalia as a costume! The outfits that the dancers wear are called Regalia. They are often handmade and both sentimentally and ceremonially important. The Chairs Please do not sit in the chairs circling the arena. The chairs immediately around the arena are usually reserved for elders, dancers, and their families. The Arena Do not walk across the Arena after it has been Blessed. The arena is considered a sacred space. Please respect the sacredness of the space and refrain from walking across it. Taking Pictures There are special rules about taking pictures. 1. It is usually okay to take pictures of people in the dance arena unless the Emcee says otherwise. 2. Please ask vendors, drum groups, dancers not in the arena, and Powwow staff/volunteers before you take their picture. 3. Please do not take photos during special dances, songs, or ceremonies. (The Emcee will announce these.) Have Fun This is a group activity, and you should feel included and enjoy yourself. If you have questions, feel free to ask them. Please remember to be respectful when you do. If you are unsure about anything, please ask the Powwow Staff or Volunteers, they will be able to answer your questions. And yes, remember to have fun.