Several types of special songs are included in native American pow wows, including the Flag Song, Honor Songs, and Trick songs.
The Flag Song
Many Indian tribes around the turn of the century adopted a song with which to honor the flag of the United States. The Flag Song has since been utilized by the tribes at the beginning of virtually all events in almost precisely the same manner in which mainstream America has adopted the Star Spangled Banner.
The Honor Song
Note: Spectators should always stand and remove their caps or hats during an Honor Song. As the name suggests, Honor Songs are requested at the pow wow/celebration to honor someone. Perhaps a family would request an Honor Song for a son who returned from being away, or in the memory of a deceased relative. Honor Songs can be made for almost any occasion. In some traditions, people with an Indian name have their own songs and those songs are sung if the person is to be honored. In other instances, there are “generic” honor songs for people without their own song.
The Trick Song
These trick songs are usually sung only for the fancy dancers and shawl dancers. A Trick Song is really a contest between the dancers and singers. The drummers try to fool the dancers into missing beats or failing to stop on time. Singers will either pick a specially-composed song or transform another song by agreeing among themselves when they will stop.