How Will Pow Wows Be Different When They Resume?

How Will Pow Wows Be Different When They Resume?

Pow Wow Season should be in full swing now!  

Denver March should have kicked off the summer season followed by Gathering of Nations in April.  Unfortunately, both of those events and dozens of other Pow Wows have been canceled or postponed.

BUT Pow Wow Season will start again.

How and when?

We don't know when, but we will all be back dancing and singing again together.

Pow Wows will not be the same, however.  

Below are my thoughts and conjecture of what will change with Pow Wows.  This is all just guessing though and will vary from depending on the location and circumstances.

Immediately, I suspect, there will be restrictions and regulations on large public gatherings enacted by local, state and federal authorities.  In addition, venues may have their own restrictions and timelines for opening.  Here in my state, the Colonial Life Arena has canceled all events through July.  High Schools are now scrambling to find other venues for graduations – if that can happen.

The Mayor of LA has stated that large gatherings there may be banned until 2021.  Will other areas follow?

Some areas of the US and Canada may be slower opening back up.  So Pow Wows won't start up again everywhere.  The normal schedule and trail of events will be drastically different.

Health Screenings

Jurisdictions are likely to require some type of health screenings at large gatherings.  This could include temperature checks, health questionnaire, and more detailed physical exams.

Before the shutdown, the cruise industry started heightened health screenings.  During your boarding process, your temperature was taken.  If your temperature was over a certain number you were escorted to another area for additional testing.

Screenings similar to this may be mandatory in some parts of the United State and Canada.

Increased Sanitation

How many times a day are you washing your hands now?

Think of all the things you touch at a Pow Wow?  How many items are passed and shared?

Events will obviously have to install handwashing stations and sanitizer dispensers.  I also expect items to be wiped and cleaned more often.  Judges will probably have to clean the clipboards before passing to the next judge for example.

Events may opt to have more registrations for dancers and singers using online tools instead of paper and pen.

Dancer, Singers and Spectator Protection

Masks for dancers?  Masks for singers?  Maybe!

Event organizers will have to keep the safety of guests as a priority.  This will mandate changes to some Pow Wow traditions.

The first events to open will likely use social distancing as much as possible to protect the participants.

Grand Entry may be smaller.  Each category may dance in then exit while the next category comes in.

Line ups for judging may be spread across the arena.  Dancers may just stand in place instead of forming a line.

Dance contest categories may be broken into smaller groups with more heats.

Larger events may have limits on the number of tickets sold.

Emcees won't be able to share a microphone.  Drum runners will either have to sanitize the mic before heading to another drum or have dedicated mics for each group.

What else will change?

We won't know until states and cities start opening up again.  The first few Pow Wows will be watched closely by other committees to see what worked and what didn't.  All large public gatherings will be under increased scrutiny.  Restrictions and rules will change as officials learn and adapt.

What do you think will be different at Pow Wows?

About Paul G

Paul G is the founder, who wears many hats as a business coach, photographer, and collector of quirky shirts. Paul started in 1996 while pursuing his graduate degree. With a passion for travel, he and his family hav  traveled the world, capturing unforgettable memories and photos. When he's not coaching or clicking, he's indulging in the magic of Disney.

5 Comments on “How Will Pow Wows Be Different When They Resume?”

  • Avatar for Barbara Neu

    Barbara Neu


    Looking forward to the day when we can all gather together again.
    Thanks for all the information you have provided us with and all the vital work you do!

  • Avatar for Walter Chrysler

    Walter Chrysler


    Hi Paul, Thanks for updating on Pow Wows. I am a member of the Tinker Inter-Tribal Council at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. We usually put on a Pow Wow in early June. We haven’t been able to have meetings so today we had a teleconference and decided to cancel for this year. We had to think of the Elders that show up and all other concerns you mentioned. I hope things get better. I enjoy the Pow site, a lot of good information. Thanks for keeping us up on happenings.

    • Avatar for Paul G

      Paul G


      Sorry to hear you had to cancel! Stay safe!

  • Avatar for Jenny fallaw

    Jenny fallaw


    Me Paul heart felt thank you for the opportunity to say ‘great job, live your emails, love Native Americans, your music, Videos of the PowWows….. just everything!
    May our Great Spirit continue to bless you and yours!

    Jenny Fallaw

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