Manataka American Indian Council


 

 

 

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WHAT IS A POWWOW?

The Powwow preserves the rich heritage of American Indians.  It is a time to remember. Indian people come together to dance, sing, meet old friends and make new ones.  It is a rich social occasion to reaffirm the joy of life, reconnect with Mother Earth and  celebrate the living culture of the American Indian.  

 

MODERN DANCE STYLES

Powwow Dances vary among tribes. Each dance has its own distinctive steps and regalia.  There are three basic types of male dances - Traditional, Fancy and Grass, and three basic types of female dances - Buckskin, Fancy Shawl, and Jingle Dress.  Many other types of dances vary from region to region and from tribe to tribe.  The regalia worn by many dancers are often treasured heirlooms passed down through generations. 

 

MEN'S TRADITIONAL DANCE is one of the oldest forms of Indian dance.  The warrior, wearing a painted face, tells a story in dance of stalking game or tracking an enemy wearing a single bustle of eagle feathers, a feathered roach headdress, beaded moccasins and ankle bells.  He carries a shield, a dance stick or weapon.

MEN'S FANCY DANCE originated in Oklahoma and is one of the most strenuous of modern Powwow dances.  The dance features leaps, spins and fancy footwork.  Fancy Dancers wear two bustles of brilliantly colored feathers, a headdress, beaded moccasins and apron, sheep anklets and armbands, and two feathered/beaded dance sticks.

MEN'S GRASS DANCE
began among the Plains tribes who had a special dance to flatten the tall plains grass for a new camp.  Grass dancers use swaying, dipping and sliding motions in the dance.  Grass dancers wear a colorful blouse-type shirt, aprons both in front and back, fringes on pants and/or ribbons and shirt and fringes and bells on the ankles, a headdress, beaded moccasins.

LADIES BUCKSKIN DANCE is the oldest among all the women's dances.  The Buckskin dance requires elegance and grace to perform smooth flowing and swaying movements in perfect rhythm with the drum.  The woman's regalia consists of a long flowing fringes on an intricately beaded buckskin dress and beaded moccasins, a fringed shawl, beaded leggings, a feather fan and eagle feather for the hair.  Some Plains tribes also wear a long bone breast plate over the regalia.

LADIES FANCY SHAWL DANCE is the newest of all the dances and represents a butterfly in flight.   Fast and fancy dance steps, spins, twirls and dip sets the Fancy Shawl dance.  [See The Butterfly Dance]   Dancer apart from the flowing movements of the Buckskin Dance. The regalia consists of a fringed and shawl with matching vest and leggings that are often adorned with beads or sequins, and a feather plum for the hair.

THE JINGLE DRESS dance began among the Northern tribes and is associated with healing. The dance is highly energetic and requires intricate footwork. The dress is adorned with many rows of small metal cones that chime together during the dance to create a rhythmic "jingling" sound during the dance.  Other parts of the regalia consist of  beaded leggings, a dance belt, a feather fan and a feather in the hair.


 

 

POWWOW PROTOCOL
The Powwow may be seen as entertainment by the general public, but the Powwow is a ceremonial legacy to be treated with honor and respect.  The Powwow is a link to the American Indian's past and help maintain our rich heritage.  Honor and respect please.

The arena dance circle is considered sacred. Visitors should not enter the circle uninvited and children should be supervised and not allowed to run in or around the circle.

Always stand and remove hats during special songs.  The Emcee will usually inform visitors when to stand.  Special songs include the Grand Entry, Flag Songs, Veteran's Songs, or any other song designated by the emcee.

Do not touch a dancer's regalia without permission.  Some ornaments have special meaning and many are handmade heirlooms.

It is considered polite to accept an offer of food and a great honor to eat with an Indian family. 

Ask permission before taking pictures.  Many people are sensitive about having their picture taken.  Respect.

When invited by the emcee or performers, visitors may participate in some social and intertribal dances.

The Giveaway is based on the ancient tradition of sharing one's personal wealth with others.  Dancers and other participants often offer small gifts as a form of honor and respect.  Anyone may participate in the Giveaway by placing an offering of a small object or money on the ground at the dancer's feet, on a blanket or in a container during the Honor Song.

Alcohol and other drugs are never allowed anywhere on the Powwow grounds.  A strict family environment must be maintained at all times. Loud or rude behavior is not permitted.

Do not sit on benches around the arena reserved for the dancers.  Always ask for permission to set up chairs because a family may have the area reserved. 

 


 

 

DRUM & SONG
The drum represents the heartbeat of the People and Mother Earth.  Without the heartbeat of the drum there is no Powwow.  The drum sets the rhythm of the dance and the tempo of the song.  The Indian drum has two beats - the single beat represents Mother Earth, and the double beat stands for humans. 

Powwow songs fit in several categories:  Flag songs, Contest songs, Intertribal songs, Veteran songs and others.   There  are songs for many occasions, including honor recognition, anniversaries, etc.

 


 

 

Why American Indians 

Honor Military Servicemen

 

From ancient times, American Indians are given a strong sense of duty, respect, honor and admiration for those willing to give the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their culture.  Warriors of old prided themselves on their prowess in battle and earned honors and a chance to speak in tribal councils. 

We honor our veterans for their bravery.  The competitive challenge of combat is deeply rooted into Indian hearts and minds.  Slaying an enemy in battle or capturing horses, weapons or other loot was less important than "counting coup", the act of lightly touching an opponent without drawing blood.  In this way, the warrior could humiliate his enemy and capture his spirit.

After withstanding the upheaval of battle, warriors of today reenter peaceful village life by being honored during festive ceremonies and celebrations, much in the same way as in olden times.  The women sing songs, prepare a feast and dance.  The warriors are purified in ceremony to cleanse themselves of harmful spirits and ease their transition. 

American Indian celebrate and honor their fighting men and women for their sacrifices, having grown in maturity and wisdom, protecting freedom for all.



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CELEBRATING THE POWWOW 

by Bobbie D. Kalman 

Celebrating the Powwow introduces children to the people and traditions of the powwow. Native American symbols and dances, such as the jingle-dress dance and hoop dance, are shown in action-filled color photographs. This colorful title describes powwows and shows the various components that make up these celebrations. The book's strength lies in its ample number of good-quality, full-color photos. Those showing the regalia are particularly detailed and well labeled. The text is easy to read and well placed on the page. While the layout and format are strong, however, the book reads like a report written by an adult for a young audience. The information is presented in a clear, straightforward manner, but it is dry and covers no new ground. Also, no source notes are given. Robert Crum's Eagle Drum (S & S, 1994) covers much of the same material and personalizes the subject by following one powwow dancer. George Ancona's Powwow transports readers to an actual celebration. Soft Cover, 32pp.  $ 11.95 

Proceeds from book purchases go to support the nonprofit, cultural, educational and religious purposes of the Manataka American Indian Council.  Thank you for your support.

Notice: Occasionally books may be discontinued or out of stock without prior notice. With written permission, your order may be filled from the 'shelf'.  Shelf books are new, but some may be slightly discolored or sale tags may be still attached. Fulfillment rate: 98.6%.


 

POWWOW DANCER'S AND CRAFTWORKER'S HANDBOOK

This book is filled with photographs showing powwow and dance regalia that have been worn during the past 100 years, along with written histories and first-hand accounts of powwow activities. Numerous pen and ink drawings illustrate many of the items worn with powwow costumes, accompanied by a description of how each of the items were made. A great resource for dancers, craft workers, and historians who want to learn more about powwow attire. Book Publishing Company, June 2000, Cover Cover, 144pp. #WR-190-7 $ 39.95  

Proceeds from book purchases go to support the nonprofit, cultural, educational and religious purposes of the Manataka American Indian Council.  Thank you for your support.

Notice: Occasionally books may be discontinued or out of stock without prior notice. With written permission, your order may be filled from the 'shelf'.  Shelf books are new, but some may be slightly discolored or sale tags may be still attached. Fulfillment rate: 98.6%.


 

THE POWWOW TRAIL:  Understanding and Enjoying the Native American Pow Wow

by Julia C. White with Diana Stanley, Illustrator

A guide to all of the many activities you might see at a powwow. Each of the many dances are described in detail with background information and history of the dance provided. The beautiful and dynamic illustrations of powwow dancers by Native American artist Diana Stanley create a wonderful sense of being there. Soft Cover, 106pp.  $13.95

Proceeds from book purchases go to support the nonprofit, cultural, educational and religious purposes of the Manataka American Indian Council.  Thank you for your support.

Notice: Occasionally books may be discontinued or out of stock without prior notice. With written permission, your order may be filled from the 'shelf'.  Shelf books are new, but some may be slightly discolored or sale tags may be still attached. Fulfillment rate: 98.6%.

 

 

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