Pow wow time: My experience and why I enjoy them so much

Pow wow time: My experience and why I enjoy them so much

Hello all!

Everyone on the dance floor

Everyone on the dance floor!

Happy Easter to all! It is another sunny Spring day on the Canadian West Coast. Nature is awake and beautiful and love is in the air 🙂 Needless to say, I am feeling good! Before I go to a friend’s place for Easter dinner, I thought I would talk about something that does make me very happy: Pow wow time 🙂 If you follow this site’s Facebook page, you probably have seen that I went to a Pow wow last night. If not, click on the link I just inserted and go check out the videos I posted! This post will focus mostly on the Pow wow I attended last night. To learn more about the Pow wow ceremony, I strongly encourage you to read my previous article explaining it. But for now, it is Pow wow time!

What does a Pow wow mean to me?

Hmmm that is a good question that I am asking myself here lol!I I am the kind of person who, as soon as I hear the drums and singing, I smile. It touches my spirit. It really does. I cannot help but move my feet along, whether I am standing or sitting. It is my next goal, by the way, to formally learn Pow wow dancing. I can’t dance to regular music to save my life. But dancing to a Pow wow song, it comes easier to me. You follow the rhythm of the drum. That being said, I see some pretty complicated footwork out there and I would like to learn how to do those.

pow wow time

So I guess to me, a Pow wow means getting together to celebrate life, to celebrate the teachings and the beauty of the traditions. It is a place where traditions are alive and well. People really get together for the same purpose: to share the music and the dance. I am smiling as I am writing this because to me, there is nothing better than the smiles on everyone’s faces. The colors of the regalia (not a costume!, dancers are not dressing up for Halloween, they wear their traditions proudly), the paint on the dancers’ faces, the camaraderie among the dancers and the heart that the singers put into the songs. That’s what it is about.

Last night, I saw so many dancers helping one another. Tying a friend’s regalia on. Adjusting one’s feather. A woman, the woman below, offered me an extra shawl if I felt like doing a fancy shawl dance (to learn about the dance, see here). Thank you Francine, that was so nice of you! Even though dances by categories are meant to be competitive, that’s not the spirit that you will feel in the air. You will feel love for one another, you will feel friendliness and pure joy.

Francine in her regalia

Francine in her regalia. Beautiful feather fan

Helping one anither

Helping one another

It’s a celebration and it is about respect

Lisa's regalia

Gorgeous regalia

It is about respecting all the work that goes into it. One’s regalia often takes weeks to make. Weeks of hard work. Some dancers might be protective of their regalia. But go ask them what the meaning of it is. Regalia is often personal to the wearer. Ask if they mind sharing the meaning of it with you. Sometimes it could be related to their family history, to their spirit or traditional name. Don’t assume the meaning, ask. And be respectful of the dancers. They have their rituals as they get ready. Let them be! Don’t touch their regalia. Let them prepare for the dancing ahead. And just watch them dance, as they are giving you a lot of themselves in those dances. Respect them enough not to get too close, giving them the space they need and truly enjoy their dancing in all its beauty.

The art that can be found

It is about connecting with local artisans (for all of those asking me on my Facebook page where to buy jewelry, boots, jackets, etc, a pow wow is the place to go for that). I came back home with a beautiful shawl and a pair of very unique earrings. I am not kidding, there are always beautiful pieces to be found. And you will oftentimes get to connect with those who made them. Take the earrings that I bought for example. I learned from the artist that cedar root and cherry bark was used to make them. How cool is that! I would have never guessed. I always try to buy directly from the artists when I can and buying at a Pow wow is a good way of doing so.

And the food!! Let’s not forget the food 🙂 First off, you will be sure to find fry bread. I am actually thinking of selling mine at a Pow wow if I can. Because if I do say so myself, it is pretty good! And! You will also likely encounter “indian ice cream” at every Pow wow you go to. There is always someone making it. It is an acquired taste but I like it. Wondering what it is, read my article about it here.

Laura Grizzlypaws

Laura Grizzlypaws in her horsetail and dancer

pow wow time

A Pow wow is a beautiful ceremony

It really is. It is a way to reconnect to one’s ancestors, to our roots. To connect with the rhythm of the drum, to the singing full of spirit. And it is a place to pass down the traditions to the little ones. To see little children dancing at Pow wows, simply makes my heart swell. It is one of the most beautiful and touching thing one can see. I posted a video of juniors dancing last night on my Facebook page. Check it out!

Laura Grizzlypaws

Laura Grizzlypaws, cowgirl dance

If you have not figured it out by now, I love Pow wow time! The Pow wow I attended last night was just as beautiful as I expected. The colors were magnificent and the dancing brought tears to my eyes. So did the singing. The best part about it was that it was entirely organized by university students from the University of British Columbia, the grounds on which the Pow wow took place. Learn more about this particular event here. I wish I had had that opportunity when I was in university. To organize and take part in such a wonderful spiritual event. The organizers did a wonderful job! A’Ho to all who participated! I am leaving you with a few pictures of one of my staff who danced last night. Alicia, you rock!!!

Alicia Peters in her regalia

Alicia Peters in her regalia

 

 

Alicia's regalia from back

Alicia’s regalia from the back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what are your experiences with Pow wows? Ever attended one? Do you love them as much as I do? Comment below 🙂

All my Relations

8 thoughts on “Pow wow time: My experience and why I enjoy them so much

  1. Rawl Campbell

    I’ve been to a Pow Wow and it’s the color regalia that I enjoy. It says a lot about the wearer. At the Pow Wow I went to I didn’t ask any of them about the meaning of their regalia. Out of respect and a little fear I stayed away. I wouldn’t stay away now, however, I would ask. What fascinates me about the native culture are the traditions and the meanings in EVERYTHING they do. It inspires me to want to learn more about my native American heritage. Thanks for sharing this inspirational and meaningful post.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Thanks Rawl for taking the time to stop by! The colors of the regalia are just amazing. Mesmerizing almost. And I think that if you come from a place of respect, it is okay to ask the meaning. And there is a meaning to most practices for sure. That comes from a long history of nations practicing those traditions. I am glad that you share my joy about Pow wows 🙂

      Reply
  2. Yvonne

    Hi Emily,

    I have never attended a Pow Wow event before. Pow Wow time reminds me a little of Lion Dance. Although both are completely different, they reflect the traditional celebration of different cultures. The regalia looks beautiful and intricate.. is this the only place where they wear this or is this what they wear all the time?

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Yvonne
      Oh I would like to learn more about the little Lion Dance! Is it practiced in Asia?
      Regalia is worn during ceremonies. Pow wows are one of them. Dancers go all out with their regalia during Pow wows 🙂

      Reply
  3. Lindsay

    Pow wow to me is feeling a sense of belonging. I did not grow up in and amongst my cree culture. I was a scoop baby and my adoptive family of blond haired and blue eyed people did not Honor my roots. After 33 years living in two worlds I have the space and courage to reconnect. Walking into powwow gives me a sense of belonging. It’s gives my young daughters a connection to their culture to which they identify so strongly. I see their faces and joy and am so happy that they get to live and love immersed in something I did not have. Powwow is sacred to me now and the welcome I have received makes my hear overflow.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Hi Lindsay
      thank you so much for sharing your own experience. I have happy you have found a way and the courage to reconnect with your ancestors. I feel the same way about Pow wows, they just put a smile on my face. And I absolutely see them as sacred ceremonies. Again thanks for sharing

      Reply
  4. Shaz

    Hi Emily! How long does a pow wow experience usually last for? Is it open to everyone irrespective of background/culture or ethnicity? I’d love to go for one some day.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Shaz
      A Pow wow is typically a day or 2 long. And absolutely, anyone is welcomed! The more the merrier. Just make sure you listen to the directives of the MC regarding some traditions, just out of respect. But come and enjoy!

      Reply

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