Pow wow

Pow wow is a traditional social event held by the members of American Native people. In the language of the Narragansett people word “pow wow” means a “spiritual leader”. The main purpose of pow wows today is to preserve the ancient culture but also for the people to socialize there. The pow wow event traditionally includes dancing competitions. Most events can last up to three days. The biggest ones last for almost a week.

The pow wow is usually organized in the form of circles. The central circle is the one where the dance is performed. Outside this circle there are drum groups, dancers and their family members. This circle is often placed in a tent. There is also an area for the general audience. Some events include active or former soldiers. Lot of food and various crafts are on offer to everyone present at the event.

Pow wow
Pow wow

The Grand Entry and prayer mark the start of the pow wow. The Grand Entry includes the Eagle Staff, flag carriers and dancers. It is also traditional that one of the drummers performs the opening song. Songs at the pow wow events also include traditional singing.

So many different dances are performed at the pow wow event. There are, for example, those opened to everyone who wants to join in. But, generally speaking dances can be divided into two main categories – male ones and female ones.

Most popular dances performed by women are the Traditional, Buckskin and Cloth, Fancy Shawl, Jingle Dress (Healing Dance) and Fancy Shawl. On the other side men perform Fancy Dance (Fancy Feather Dance), Northern Traditional, Southern Straight and Grass Dance.