What is a Pow Wow?
Powwow time is Native people meeting together, to join in dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships and making new ones. This is a time to renew thoughts of the old ways and to preserve a rich heritage.Originally a Powwow, or “celebration” as it was called in the old days, was held in the spring to welcome the new beginnings of life. Often different tribal nations would come together for the occasion. During these general meetings the Native American Indians would settle arguments between different groups, form alliances, and trade with one another. It was also a time for families to hold naming and honoring ceremonies. The original Pow Wows often were of religious significance and therefore consisted of different religious songs and dances. Please note that at contemporary Pow Wows religious dances are usually not performed.Some trace the word “Powwow” to the Algonquin language. The term originally pronounced “pauau” or “pau wau” meaning gathering of medicine men and spritual leaders in a curing ceremony. The early European settlers thought that the term referred to a council or large gatherings of Native peoples, so the word spread throughout the nation. As the American Indians learned the English language, they accepted the term and definition given to their social gatherings.A contemporary Powwow is a social event for everyone to have a fun and entertaining time, whether you’re a Native American or just interested in Native American cultures. Pow Wows offer a time for Native Americans or just interested in Native American cultures. Pow Wows offer a time for Native Americans from a variety of different tribal nations to get together and participate in visiting, singing, and dancing. It is also a chance for our non-Indian friends and families to take part in inter-tribal dancing as a Powwow is considered a cultural sharing event for all to learn about Native Americans and share ideas and information.The circle is an important symbol to Indian cultures because it symbolizes the continuation of life. To the Native American people, life is never ending, like the circle. The Powwow brings the circle of the people closer together – closer to their community and their culture.Powwows today are still very much a part of the lives of modern Indian people. The Powwow season runs from March to September or later, and some families “go the circuit” for the entire season. Competitive singing and dancing for prize money is a fairly recent change in the traditiona Powwows. Only registered contestants can participate in the dancing contests.