Native American Pow Wow
Native American pow-wow is neither any Chinese dish nor any game played by children. Pow wow is referred to as the social gathering of Native Indian Americans, where the tribals have a gala time singing, dancing and socializing.
The Pow-Wow Organization
- Committee and the Head Staff - Planning for a pow-wow begins much before the event by a group of people known as the pow-wow committee. The committee appointed by the head staff, recruits vendors and hires places for the event. Head staff is the person who actually monitors on the day of the event.
- Arena Director - Arena director is another important member who sees during the pow-wow if the dancers are performing and the drum groups are singing the right song or not. The arena director is also given the responsibility of recruiting judges for any contest based shows.
- Head Dancers – Head dancers consists a male dancer and a female dancer, and often teenagers, little boys and girls as dancers. The head dancers are actually the one who lead the troupe along with the music.
- Host Drums – Pow-wow also has a drum group which plays music for the function. In an intertribal pow-wow event, generally two or more drums are hired. Each drum has a lead singer, who leads the group. Host drums are required to sing songs at the beginning and end of the function. Some of the famous host drums include The Boyz, Black Lodge Singers, Cozad Singers, Mandaree Singers, Southern Thunder, Yellowhammer, Zotigh and Cozad Singers. All in all, drums are an important part of the Native American’s life.
- The Set-up – Pow-wow is set up as a series of large circles. Dance programmes are held in the central circle. The circles outside to it are reserved for the master of ceremonies, drum groups and sitting areas for dancers and their families.
- The Opening – Pow-wow event begins with a grand entry by the dancers, after which the host drums inaugurate it with a special song. There is a different turn up for all the people. Veterans carry flags and eagle staff lead the event followed by dancers in a specific order: Men's Traditional, Men's Grass Dance, Men's Fancy, Women's Traditional, Women's Jingle, and Women's Fancy.
- Dance – The spectators during the pow-wow event go to see different forms of dances in full regalia.
Women’s traditional dance is divided into two basic types according to the regalia worn, like buckskin and cloth. Buckskin is the oldest form of beautiful and elegant dance amongst women, where they wear fine handcrafted buckskin dresses.
Men’s northern traditional dance is the oldest Native American dancing, which evolved from the well-known "old time Sioux” style. The movements are quite similar to that of the prairie chicken.
Just imagine the picture of rich music and dance and you’ll be left enthralled. The Native American pow-wow is the celebration of joy, happiness and merriment.
Joseph Paige © 2006