Pow Wow Terminology

Pow Wow Terminology

This section explains a bit of the history of the modern pow wow gathering, and some of the common terminology used at pow wows.


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Host drums and drum groups

Music for pow-wow dance competitions and other activities is provided by a “Drum,” which is a closely knit group of singers who play a large, specially designed drum and sing traditional songs. They are also often called a Drum Group.

Pow Wow Participants

Pow Wow participants include dancers and drums from tribes throughout the United States and Canada, who participate in the hundreds of pow wows and Native American celebrations each year. They come from every state in the Union and every province of Canada. At times, even participants from the Native tribes of South America participate.

The Drum

Drums can come from a variety of sources. Some are handed down in a family; others are donated to a drum group. Older drums are made of deer, elk or horse hides, but contemporary bass drums can be purchased or renovated, and even blessed, just as are the older drums.

The Grand Entry
The Pow Wow Announcer, Arena director, and Head Dancers
The Powwow committee
What is a pow wow?