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Author Topic: When entering a Dance Area at a Pow Wow Gathering  (Read 1152 times)


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When entering a Dance Area at a Pow Wow Gathering
« on: May 06, 2018, 05:45:37 PM »
As many that has been to an Inter-tribal gathering of the people (Pow-Wow) to witness the many dances and ceremonies when open to the public. Often during the function the arena will be called to be opened for native and non-native people to enter who are not in full regalia dress to come and dance, or to learn from the main men and woman dancers the correct dance steps.

I wish to teach here some of the protocol first of what the arena is all about..

If you notice before the pow-wow begins, whether it is a full on event of 2-3 days, or a one day, there will be usually a Elder male or Female who will go about with a smoldering Smudge Bowl of white sage, cedar, and sweet grass and Eagle Feather to fan the sacred smoke to do a blessing of that area around and inside the arena itself. This is because it then becomes our church and a sacred place of worship by doing the dances of our Ancestors before us.

When the time comes and the invite comes from the MC that permission has been given, you can go to what is called the "Eastern Gate" of the arena. If you have never gone into a arena before, please watch very carefully and stand off to the side of the opening and wait until the Head Lady dancer the Head Man dancer always goes in first. Then wait for the full dressed dancers goes ahead of you. If you still pay attention closely, all dancers enter the arena from the left hand side.. easy way to remember which side, it is always on (The Heart-Side). You are allowed to just walk and not worry about actually dancing.. it is always asked not to talk and cut-up inside the arena circle. Remembering out of utmost respect, this is a church atmosphere not a playground for any age group.
It is a definite rule, of anybody any age, Do Not go inside the arena and go across the arena to get out off the side. If you are inside, you must walk the complete circle keeping to the left and exit the Eastern Gate Always.
Unfortunately... because of new generations (NOT BEING CORRECTLY TAUGHT) you will see even fully dressed dancers exiting off the sides disrespectfully.
Now, there is an exception to this rule only for fully dressed dancers.. if a dancer male or female, places his/her blanket on the top of the arena circle in a specific place, the dancer can be allowed to stop and exit to where their blanket is without making a complete circle exit.

Outside visitors, are not allowed to sit on the arena circle, and will be told by the MC in the announcements, as it is reserved for fully dressed dancers only. Sometimes, the circle is made from a circle of hay-bales, sometimes folding chairs in a circle, each pow-wow is different on how it may be set-up. I personally have seen a circle made out of nothing but blankets, or even egg crates. Either way, it still a representation of a sacred area that becomes our church.

I wish to share at this time, something that I was told as a child about how we as Indigenous believe..

We are in Church everyday and every moment of our life journey..

The Circle of Life is Eternal Never-ending.
The floor of our church is Mother Earth herself
The roof or canopy is the entire universe
The sides are into Infinity
The door is our very heart and soul
The one whom teaches us is The Creator of All who made all Things including us
The program is how we live our individual lives day by day with the full knowledge and  Intent of our Hearts and minds towards each other and all Creation thereof, and when we have completed our "School Days" of learning what we must here on Earth, we travel and become part of the Universal Church and begin again.   

Never be afraid to ask questions if you are not sure what to do, there are only dumb questions when not asked.. It is so much better to ask first, than going forth and doing something that will cause you personal embarrassment, and would turn out to be disrespectful to where something that very well could be so educational and inspirational in your life. 

As We Face The Winds Together!

ShaunaSay WhiteFeather
« Last Edit: May 06, 2018, 05:57:05 PM by WhiteFeather »
"We are not Human Beings having a Spiritual Experience, we are Spiritual Beings having a Human experience"


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