Etiquette of the Pow Wow

We hope that all our participants and visitors have an enjoyable time during our Pow Wow.  Please read and follow these guidelines so that our event can remain a sacred yet fun experience.

  1. People should stand during all ceremonial songs and dances such as the Grand Entry, Flag Songs, Veterans Songs and all other Honour Songs.  It is also polite to stand during the prayer.
  2. Do not take photographs, videos or recordings of any ceremonies, Honour Songs or the Sacred Fire.  If you wish to take a photo of a particular dancer, please ask permission first.
  3. The M.C. will keep you informed of what is happening next and give any necessary instructions, so please listen carefully.
  4. The dancers wear regalia – not “costumes”.  Please do not touch a dancer’s regalia or pick up any item that may fall during the dance.  Inform the Arena Director or M.C. if you see such an item.
  5. Appropriate dress and behaviour are required in the dance area – no running, eating, drinking or smoking.  Please enter and exit the dance area by the Eastern door.  In this part of the country, we move clockwise, except our Iroquois friends who dance counter clockwise.  Please refrain from entering the drum area.
  6. Do not allow children to run around in the dance area.  We do not carry our children while dancing in the dance area.  We believe everything we carry is a gift to the Creator and we do not wish to give up our children.  Some tribes do not hold to this tradition (each nation differs in their protocol), but we follow the “rules” of the nation we are visiting.
  7. No drugs, alcohol or pets are allowed around the Pow Wow area.  Anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or has possession of these things will be asked to leave. Please make sure your pets are comfortable and safe but away from the Pow Wow area.
  8. Any woman who is in her menstrual cycle is not permitted in the dance area or in the Sacred Fire circle.  This is due to the spiritual energy carried by a woman on “her time”.  This tradition respects a woman’s gift.  If you wish to learn more, please offer tobacco to a traditional woman and she will explain more to you.  (It is a tradition to offer tobacco to someone when asking for information.)
  9. There is specific seating for Elders and handicapped people.
  10. Have fun!  We hope you come back to visit us next year!

A printable pdf copy of this article is available. Click here to open.

If you would like to know more about the Pow Wow, click "What is a Pow Wow?".


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