50th Annual Dance for Mother Earth

March 23-24, 2024

Powwow Guidelines and Etiquette

Participants should consult representatives of the Powwow Committee if they are unsure of guidelines or etiquette.

Eagle Feather pick-up – if an Eagle feather falls to the ground, they are believed to be sacred as they retain the spirit of the eagle who is the Great Spirits messenger. If an eagle feather falls, do not pick it up. A ceremony will take place.

General Guidelines

  • All participants should have respect for ceremonial objects, regalia, drums and songs.

  • All participants must treat Elders, drummers, singers, dancers, and Powwow staff with respect.

  • Powwows are fun and family orientated events. However parents should ensure their children are behaving appropriately and do not allow them to run around the dance area.

  • Alcohol, drugs, verbal abuse and unruly behavior are not acceptable at Powwows. Do not come to a Powwow if you are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

Powwow Etiquette

Much of the following information is background information on general powwow etiquette – the majority of our participants will know powwow etiquette.

  • People should stand during all ceremonial songs and dances. These include Grand Entry, Flag Songs, Veteran Songs, Honour Songs and any other songs that the Master of Ceremonies designates as ceremonial songs. If you are unsure when to stand, watch for more experienced attendees and notice when they are standing for songs and ceremonies. You may also be prompted by the MC.
  • Spectators participating in Inter Tribal dances are required to have appropriate attire and behave respectfully in the dance area. Elders caution that parents do not hold children while dancing Memorial songs unless carrying the child in a carrier on the back.
  • People should take direction from the Master of Ceremonies as he will explain the proceedings. The MC will announce the different songs and let people know when they can dance and they cannot. They will also provide other information and news.

Powwow dancers wear regalia while they are dancing that should not be referred to as ‘costumes.’  The term regalia more appropriately conveys the sacred nature of the dancers’ outfits. In respect of its sacred aspect, spectators should not touch a dancer’s regalia unless given permission to do so. Do not take photographs of Powwow participants without first asking and receiving permission.