he term Pow Wow comes from the Algonquin nation of the Eastern Woodlands, meaning “a gathering of spiritual leaders.” Originally, Indian tribes held celebrations to commemorate successful hunts or harvests. Many tribes had ceremonial dances to prepare for war and to celebrate victories. The old tribal War Dance as it was known and is still called today, evolved over the last four or five decades into a contemporary social dance and the pow wow into a social gathering and celebration time.
Every year at a weekend in July the Taos Pueblo celebrates its Pow Wow. We were honored to be there one year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see Native American dancers at the beautiful location of Taos Pueblo, New Mexico.
The best book to understand what Pow Wow is all about is Julia C. White’s The Pow Wow Trail.
The Pow Wow Trail: Understanding and Enjoying the Native American Pow Wow
- Author: Julia C. White
- Publisher: Book Publishing Company (TN); 1 edition, January 1, 1996
- Paperback, also available as ebook
- 112 pages
This is a complete guide to all the activities that you might see at a pow wow. Each of the many dances are described in detail with background information and history of the dance provided.
For anyone interested in learning about Native American Cultures by visiting pow-wows, this book is a great starting point to make attending those gatherings more enjoyable.
Julia White has captured the essence of the pow wow. The information provides the proper protocol for being part of a pow wow to prepare the viewer as a courteous participant. I particularly enjoyed Julia’s descriptions of the various dances.
Her book, “The Pow Wow Trail : Understanding and Enjoying the Native American Pow Wow”, is an excellent reflection of that knowledge, that reverence, and a wonderfully practical, down-to-earth introduction to the Pow Wow itself, and to preparing yourself for attending one.