Powwow Etiquette Tips for First Time Pow Wow Visitors

By Dennis Chrysler on April 2, 2013
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Pow Wow Etiquette has been handed down to know these things as children when we went to the pow wows and it was always explained that , if we had nonnative friends tagging along, these where the 4 most important rules of the trip.

Today, even though it is told at some of the pow wows in the address to the public, some don’t pay attention to what’s going on because of the excitement of being at their first pow wow.

Here are my top tips for your first time at a Pow Wow.

  • Always stand respectfully during special songs. These include the Grand Entry, Flag Songs, Veteran’s Songs or any other song that the emcee designates. During these songs, men should remove their hats.
  • Pointing with the fingers is considered poor manners by some tribes. If you must point, use your head and nod in the direction you wish to indicate.
  • Ask permission before taking photos of dancers in regalia. If the photo is for publication or commercial use, this should be explained before the photo is taken.
  • The correct term for a dancer’s outfit is regalia, not costume. Never touch a dancer’s regalia. Many of the ornaments have religious meaning and are cherished family heirlooms.




TOPICS: Blog, Featured, Pow Wow Mom's

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13 Responses to “Powwow Etiquette Tips for First Time Pow Wow Visitors”

  1. Brenda Shelton says:

    Looking forward to the summer Pow Wow’s.

  2. Karen Weir says:

    Thank You for the information..I am not a Native American but I enjoy attending the Gatherings very much whenever I can..I must admit I have been guilty of several infractions..more like just being ignorant of the ways..I apologize for my bad manners..thanks again..Karen Weir

    • Paul G says:

      No need to apologize! Continue to support Pow Wows and visiting them!

      • Wilson Rivera says:

        If you did know. You were ;not at fault .know you know better. Taino from Puerto Rico.

    • Wahanataien says:

      I agree with Paul G, knowing now to educate others makes up for any wrong you may feel, and again, support and bringing your friends to Pow Wow’s are magic in the eyes of a child, nothing like it in the world…so enjoy your self this year and thanks for the interest…

  3. Long John says:

    Always stand for an Honor Song…do not enter a drum cicle unless asked to do so…

    If a tribal participant does not want to talk with you, don’t take it personal…

    ALL photo’s intended for publication MUST have a Photo Release (consent form) signed by the subject or else legal action can be taken for invasion of privacy…

    customs vary from tribe to tribe…some pow wows will have info booths…

  4. estelagahe says:

    Always ask before taking pictures! some of us do not wish our pictures taken because of religious reasons. to do so violates our freedom of religious practice and causes us harm. never cut across the arena and always complete your circles

  5. Dottie Benedict says:

    thank you for posting, I am only 50% cherokee and i am just learnng about my heritage so thank you again for the info

  6. Annegret Allison says:

    I have been to a POW WOW only once and I enjoyed every second of it (that was in 1974 and I was 13 years old). Wish I could visit a POW WOW more often <3

  7. Karuna says:

    I am not Native. I love learning about all things Native. Thank you for the guidelines.

  8. Rollingthunder Eury aka RT says:

    here are my thoughts, not knowing my ancestry very well,i struggle with this,some but not to much. if the drum moves you ,it might be coming from some where deep inside.the place where we all connect.or even beyond! follow your heart!!!!

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