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Pow Wow Dance Styles

The GON experience is for all people (Indian and Non-Indian) to come see colorful Native American PowWow dancing, to hear the songs and become enlightened with emotional happiness! But for a first time visitor, all of this can be overwhelming and intimidating.  We have put together some information to help you better understand what you’ll see and hear at the Gathering of Nations
  • What is a Pow Wow? A pow wow (also powwow or pow-wow) is a social gathering held by many different Native American communities.
What to look for during the Gathering of Nations PowWow, review dance styles below:


Pow Wow Dance Styles

Grass Dancer

Once, a young man who had one lame foot, longed ever so much to dance. He took that longing out onto the prairie, praying for guidance as he limped up a small hill. On top of the hill, it came to him – he should develop his own style of dance. As he pondered this revelation, he looked down over the prairie with its swaying and swooping grasses. This, he realized, could be his dance.

Grass dancers have their outfits (regalia) adorned with fringes made of yarn, ribbon or torn fabric that mimic the swooping grass including matching beadwork throughout their regalia.


Northern Traditional Dancer

This Northern Men’s dance has lavish bustles of long feathers, usually from an eagle or another raptor, burst from the dancer’s waist. Similar to Fancy Feather Dancers, often brightly colored bustles are carried at the shoulders as well. This is a time for the men to dance in the way of fathers and grandfathers tribes, and some of these outfit pieces are passed down through the generations. Some mens regalia may include a red eagle feather, denoting a veteran’s injury in battle. 

Southern Straight Dancer

Men usually wear formal tailored Southern Style cotton or buckskin pants, a shirt, white head band with a breastplate of bones, metal or beads that stops at the wait or the knees and a comb-like headdress called a roach of porcupine-guard hair and deer-tail hair.

Fancy Feather Dancer

The youthful ages of the dancers and brilliantly colored regalia (outfits) with a double bustles behind and sometimes small bustles on the arms are hallmarks of this energetic dance.

A dancer’s regalia are color-coordinated and the dancers are extremely coordinated, spinning through what is undoubtedly the most athletic of powwow dancers. A friendly competition may develop between the singers and the dancers because stoping simultaneously with the ending of the drum beat can mean winning or losing points during competition. The singers also perform trick songs with unexpected final beats to throw the dancers off.


Chicken Dance

The old style chicken dance is one of the oldest forms of dancing.  It is said that the Chicken Dance Style originates amongst the Blackfoot people and mimics the prairie chickens dancing in the tall grass. A chicken Dancer regalia includes a head dress, matching beadwork and in some cases tights including a bustle to mimic a prairie chicken.

Kiowa Gourd Dance

This was originally danced by an organization of respected men, initially by warriors, then military servicemen and women and now those who have done exceptional things in their lives. Kiowa men wear red and blue blankets that commemorate the Kiowas at war; the Red portion of the blanket represents war against the Spanish and the Blue portion of the blanket represents the war against the United States Calvary. This dance is not a part of a competition and is performed separately from the other dances and often held at most powwows.


Welcome to the Gathering of Nations Website

Gathering of Nations welcomes you to our home on the World Wide Web. As is true at the Gathering of Nations Powwow, everyone is welcome here.

We are committed to bringing you a web site full of GON event and educational information representing Native American Indian (indigenous) cultures in the most positive way. Listen to Native American Indian Music 24x7 on Gathering of Nations Internet Radio powered by iHeart Radio, GON PowWow Photos, Educational Information and much more! We hope you enjoy our site and choose to return often.

We update content to our site regularly! Visit often and Enjoy...

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