Pow Wow Etiquette Tips for First Time Pow Wow Visitors

Pow Wow Etiquette Tips for First Time Pow Wow Visitors

Posted By Dennis Chrysler April 2nd, 2013 Last Updated on: April 12th, 2019

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 no-nnative friends tagging along, these were the 4 most important rules of the trip.

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 a costume.
    Never touch a dancer's regalia.
    Many of the ornaments have religious meaning and are cherished family heirlooms.



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About Dennis Chrysler

Running in the Red Road…some of the best times in my life were when I went to a strong hold part of the Akwesasne St. Regis Reservation, in New York State in the 1970s because of some trouble with New York State. There I lived and made friends with people like, Chief Jake Swamp, who has passed on not long ago, and Chief, Tom Porter and others. I became a member of the longhouse and received the name; wahanataien (the builder) which was given to me by the clan mothers after 3 days of conversations about me and my life. These two people, (Jake and Tom ) showed me the ways of traditions and life seen and un seen. There is so much information to be given in what has been given in a gift, only to be return to others, so that they may also give as it has been given….

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20 thoughts on “Pow Wow Etiquette Tips for First Time Pow Wow Visitors



  2. Denise Sargent says:

    I would like to respectfully add that ifa hat has an eagle feather on it, the hat does not have to be removed, but men remove it anyway just to show respect. Has anyone heard that, and that the eagle feather was only given to a man who has been in combat or veteran. Has anyone else heard this?

  3. My friend and I are planning to attend the July, 2019 pow wow at Lame Deer. Would you please confirm the dates so we don’t miss it? Thank you!

  4. Yolanda Giovannetti says:

    Sorry I meant to say unto these Hills. And if there’s any any other special tours that I need to look into for her

  5. Yolanda Giovannetti says:

    This will be my first Pow Wow and I’m bringing a friend who truly loves this culture is there any special one-on-one events or interviews that she can attend we did get tickets for Backstage onto the these woods but I’m not sure if that’s good enough or special enough to get the full effect of pow wow for her she has done so much for many people and Charities throughout the country that I feel I need to give her something back that she would absolutely love any suggestions are greatly appreciated we’re heading to Cherokee this weekend for the pow wow there

  6. Carol rosa says:

    Hello my name is Carol Lynn Rosa. I was wondering if I can bring my mom who is 82 years old. She will have to bring her wheelchair. Is this allowed?

  7. 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!!!!

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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…

  12. 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

      • 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…

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