Native American Pow Wow

  • American West
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

Another often misunderstood Native American Cultural Event, The “Pow wow” was originally a Narragansett (Rhode Island) Native American word which translated meant “Great Gathering” or “Spiritual Leaders”. The Event was originally seen as a gathering of Tribal Leaders or Elders who met (seldom), to discuss any great situation which effected a Tribe or Nation. Although going to War was perhaps the most tantamount of reasons to gather, other situations such as relocation were discussed as well. Tribal Nations were by and large decentralized as Governments. The Pow wow was seen as close as Confederation as some Tribes got . Many Americans identified these gatherings as “War Meetings”, often associated with Drums and dancing. It was from this, they misunderstood and formulated the “War Dance”. The use of dancing and drums were integral to many Native American Ceremonies.


By the time The Pow wow tradition migrated to The Great Plains, Family and friends became an important part. Often not seen in years, good food and friendly completions were added to these important Tribal Leaders Meetings. The American Government and Army used these gatherings to establish Treaties and to met with Leaders, often to avoid or stop Wars. The term a “having a Pow wow” entered “White” language as a result. Today, The Pow wow still occupies a huge part of Modern Tribal life. As many as 19 Major Pow wows are held yearly through The United States, and draw thousands of Tribal Participants (and an equal number of curious “Whites”). Dance, Drum and Chanting completions are held, as are Clothing and Best Food Events. The Pow wow is an amazing “window “ into an Ancient and Noble Culture.