Dances and Events
The Grand Entry begins all powwows(unless there is Gourd Dancing). It is the important first song, bringing all tha
dancers into the arena. The dancers enter in a certain order, often as follows: Flag bearers first, then Head dancers, veterans,
royalty, men's Northern Traditional, Southern Traditional, Women's Northern, Women's Southern, Grass dancers, Jingle, Men's
Fancy, Women's fancy shawl, then the children.
Some powwows are competitions (alright, most are now). Dancers are grouped by dance style and age, and compete for
cash prizes. Each may be judged on creativity, staying with the beat, and stopping at the right time. Many dancers make their
living this way, yet many do not compete, because they do not approve of such things.
Women's Southern Tradtional dancers
Everyone-Indian or not is invited to come out into the arena and and dance.
Children are cherished in Native cultures, and many are started into the powwwows at an early age. Tiny Tot songs
are for children under 5 years. Boys and girls than can hardly walk may be dressed in full regalia, and mothers may take babies
out. Everyone who participates is given a small gift, such as candy or a dollar.
An Honor Song is sung for an individual for different reasons. For example, he or she may have just graduated, lost
a loved one, gained a new family member, or is starting a nnew style of dance. Durring this song and dance, no recording of
any kind is allowed. After the dancer and his or her family and friends circle the arena once, everyone is invited to come
and pay their respects, then take their place behind them to finish the dance.
Givaways usually go hand-in-hand with Honor Songs. Gifts of any size are given for any of a number of reasons. Maybe
apparently for no reason at all, just to give. Gifts are often given to complete strangers, which not only makes the giver
feel good, but shows their generosity. If an individual does not have much money, his or her family and friends will donate
Men's Fancy Shawl
Basically, this dance is for the men to wear a woman's shawl and try to dance like Fancy Shawl dancers. Always entertaining
to observe, as of course, most men don't look much like butterflies as they stomp around. A winner is sometimes chosen by
applause (and laughter).
AMERICAN INDIAN MAGAZINE