March 2nd, 2014 | Published in Education |
O’siyo.Spring is here (almost) and for many Natives this means Pow Wow time! We thought this flyer from North Carolina State University was a very good idea. It explains to non-Natives the terminology pertaining to Pow-Wows, tips for being comfortable during the celebration, and most importantly what is acceptable (and unacceptable) behavior at these very special Native celebrations.
VOCABULARY & TITLES
Arena – dance circle, this area is blessed before the dance and must remain pure throughout the Ceremony.There is a single entrance to the arena facing East, you should not enter the arena unless invited,and this is the only entrance that should be used to enter. This invisible boundary should not be broken at anytime by any one.
Regalia – attire worn by dancers – NOT a costume. The development of a dancer’s regalia is a very personal process. Often items have taken years to create or may be gifts and have deep meaning.
Master of Ceremonies – (MC) officiates over Ceremony proceedings. Guide to the events – pay attention to his announcements.
The Drum – the heartbeat of Mother Earth. The drum acts as an agent to bring harmony and balance to participants and to spectators. The drum acts as an intercessor to the spiritual realm.
Head Man Dancer – lead dancer, he will begin and guide the other dancers through the dance.
Head Woman Dancer – lead dancer, she will begin and guide the other dancers through the dance.
Intertribal Dance – social dance; open to visitors to come join the dancers in celebration.
Bring your own seating chairs and benches around the arena is reserved for dancers, seats with blankest or other personal items are taken.
Items left at seats are not to be touched this is a gathering of family there should be no need to guard belongings from each other.
Dress appropriately. Halter tops and short shorts are not appropriate for this celebration.
Pictures may be taken with the permission of the dancers, but not durin dedication dances (Veterans Songs, Flag Songs, or Prayers). These special songs will be announced by the MC.
NO drugs or alcohol permitted at any time for any reason.
Supervise your children so that all may enjoy the event without distraction.
Animals should not be brought to the event.
Do not litter
Do not touch a dancer’s regalia. These items are made with great care and are often gifts to the dancers from friends and family. They have deep significance and should be respected.
If something falls, leave it. Inform the individual that they have dropped something, and they will go through the proper procedures to retrieve it.
If invited to dance, please do. It is disrespectful to decline, do not worry about not knowing how the person who invited you will teach you.
Listen to the MC, he will let you know when you need to stand and when you may sit after honor songs. He will also announce intertribal dances and other invitations for our guests to participate.
“Pow-Wows are a gathering, a community celebration, a time for nations to come together to share songs and dances, a chance to celebrate your gifts, your heritage, your language, your culture with other Native people…Powwows aren’t part of every Nations’ tradition – in fact, there are hundreds of distinct songs and dances that are very different from powwow styles.” ~ The Great Lakes Powwows~
There are many Pow-Wows throughout the year, and all are beautiful and exciting to behold. Enjoy, learn, and respect.
There are many legends about how the Indians learned about the Talking Feather/Talking Stick. Here is one of them…
Long years ago, when gods walked this earth and the land beyond, Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei, were together enjoying the warm summer day. It was a day when the crickets chirrupted in the waving, green grass,when they noticed a figure moving towards them.
As the figure approached closer Kanati said “Look, that woman is crying, what could be the matter?” “I can not imagine why anyone would cry on such a glorious day.” Replied Asgaya Gigagei. “Let’s ask her.”
As the woman drew nearer, they could see her buckskin was decorated with beautiful designs and colors. She carried a bundle filled with leaves, sage, and colorful stones and feathers. They knew immediately this woman was a holy being.
Kanati asked her “Holy mother, why are you crying so?” The woman looked up in wonder, because she had been walking with her head down. “I’m crying because the men of my village are fighting constantly! Each thinks his ideas for leading the tribe is the best!” Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei glanced at one another, in perplexity. “Why, if there are so many good ideas for leading your tribe, why are the men fighting? And why aren’t you and the other members happy!” The poor woman shook her head sadly and replied, “Yes, you are right, the men do have very good ideas, but every man wants to speak his own ideas, and not listen to anyone else. They all shout and scream at one another so loudly, that it frightens the children who run and hide behind their mothers. The women are sad because their husbands come to the house upset and angry. Furthermore, the tribe is suffering, because no one can seem to make a decision.” Just then a beautiful Eagle was soaring overhead, Kanati called out “Brother Eagle, may I have one of your feathers, there are poor humans in desperate need!”
Bother Eagle replied “Yes” and shook himself until a single iridescent, large feather fell to the ground. “Many thanks and Blessings on you” said Kanati. Kanati made secret signs and prayers over the Feather. Asgaya Gigagei helped him with the blessings. Kanati then said to the woman “This is the sacred Talking Father, it holds great power for the one who holds it. Go back to your people, hold this feather up in the air, all who see it will fall silent, and listen to what you have to say. Tell all who listen that from now on, who ever holds this feather, all present within the Circle Council must listen to his words. The feather must then be passed on to the next speaker.”
The woman thanked Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei and hurried back to her village where there was total chaos!. Everyone was talking at once, children were crying, men were screaming at each other. As soon as she held the feather over her head, all became quiet! No one could utter a sound! the holy woman proceeded to give the directions given to her by the gods. She then passed the feather to the first man. He called the Talking Circle together, and each man had his say as he held the feather. From that time on that tribe flourished because they now had direction, and each person could hear and understand what their peers said. The people worked together, to build a great nation. Along the way, they shared the wonders of the Talking Feather with other tribes they met. “And that my friends is the true story of how the Talking Feather came to be!”