Northwest Aboriginal Interagency Committees

Pow Wows


Attending your first powwow can be an enriching and memorable experience. Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:

  1. Educate Yourself: Before attending, take some time to learn about the significance and cultural importance of powwows. Understanding the history, traditions, and protocols will enhance your experience and show respect for the event and its participants.

  2. Respect the Space: Powwows are often sacred and ceremonial gatherings. Show respect by following the rules and guidelines set by the organizers. This may include protocols regarding photography, recording, and appropriate behavior.

  3. Dress Appropriately: While there may not be a strict dress code for attendees, consider wearing modest and respectful attire. If you have the opportunity to wear traditional Indigenous clothing, ensure it’s appropriate and worn respectfully.

  4. Arrive Early: Arriving early allows you to find parking, secure a good spot to view the events, and familiarize yourself with the layout of the powwow grounds. It’s also a great time to explore the food and craft vendors.

  5. Listen and Observe: Powwows often feature various dances, ceremonies, and performances. Take the time to watch and listen attentively. Pay attention to the drumming, singing, and movements, as they hold cultural significance.

  6. Ask Questions Respectfully: If you’re unsure about something or curious about a particular aspect of the powwow, don’t hesitate to ask respectfully. Many participants are happy to share their knowledge and experiences.

  7. Participate Mindfully: While some activities may be open to participation for non-Indigenous attendees, such as intertribal dances, ensure you do so respectfully and follow any instructions provided by the emcee or dancers.

  8. Support the Community: Consider supporting the vendors by purchasing Indigenous-made crafts, artwork, and food. Your purchases contribute to the economic well-being of Indigenous communities.

  9. Be Open-Minded: Approach the powwow with an open mind and heart. Embrace the diversity of Indigenous cultures and traditions represented at the event, and be receptive to new experiences and perspectives.

  10. Express Gratitude: After the powwow, consider expressing gratitude to the organizers, performers, and participants for sharing their culture and traditions with you. A simple thank you can go a long way in showing appreciation.

By approaching the powwow with respect, curiosity, and an open heart, you’ll likely come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for Indigenous cultures and traditions.