Etiquette Rules

  1. Always stand respectfully during special songs. These include the Grand Entry, flag songs, veteran’s songs or any other song the MC designates. During these songs, men should remove their hats.
  2. Pay extra attention to the MC for various announcements about the event and type of dances.
  3. Ask permission before taking photos of dancers in regalia. If the photo is for publication or commercial use, this should be explained before the photo is taken.
  4. The correct term for a dancer’s outfit is regalia, not costume. Never touch a dancer’s regalia. Many of the ornaments have religious meaning and are cherished family heirlooms.
  5. If you see a lost or dropped feather, do NOT pick it up. Notify the nearest staff member, veteran, Head Man Dancer or Arena Director immediately.
  6. Pointing with the fingers is considered poor manners by some tribes. If you must point, use your head and nod in the direction you wish to indicate.
  7. Feel free to join in the inter-tribal dances by invitation of the MC.
  8. Do not ever cross the arena floor! Do not go into drum circles. Stay on the perimeter. If a drum group is singing or about to sing, do not approach the drum.
  9. Last of all, powwows are meant to be social events. Make a new friend, eat some food, visit the vendors… have a great time!

If you have any questions about any of the above etiquette or would like to know more, please ask an ITSA member. Also, most dancers, singers, elders and staff are happy to help.