10th annual Powwow is Sept. 23-25 at Watson Lake

Courtesy photo

Prescott’s 10th Annual Native American Powwow takes place Friday through Sunday, Sept. 23-25, at Watson Lake. Dancing, singing, arts and crafts, food booths, and children’s activities are included in this free event ($5 parking fee, good all weekend). The Powwow is open to the public and everyone is welcomed; however, drugs, alcohol, weapons or pets are not permitted.

A special tribute for all veterans, not just Native American vets, will take place Saturday afternoon. This is an opportunity for all veterans to be called onto the field and honored.

Several drumming and dancing groups from across the nation will perform, said powwow organizer Manuel Lucero.

Schedule

Friday, Sept. 23:

Gourd Dance 3 p.m.

Grand Entry 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 24:

Gourd Dance 10 a.m.

Grand Entry 1 p.m.

Gourd Dance 5 p.m.

Grand Entry 7 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 25:

Gourd Dance 10 a.m.

Grand Entry 12 p.m.

“There will be dancers from all over the continent – Great Lakes areas; Northern plains, traditional and fancy style; Southern plains, traditional and fancy style; grass dancers; and tiny tots, the little bitty guys,” he said.

There are some critical do’s and don’ts to follow when attending Native American gatherings. First and foremost involves photography, Lucero said.

“We would like people to ask permission of the dancer first,” he said, adding that during the Gourd Dance, no photography is allowed at all. “The Grand Entry is the best photo op.”

If one takes a photo of a particular dancer in a group, search him or her out after the dance is over and ask permission to keep the photo. With digital cameras, it helps to show the dancer the photo, and also to get the dancer’s contact info and send the photo to them.

“Let them know you took photos. Show them, let them know so they are not surprised to see it on Facebook,” Lucero said.

If photographers focus in on a particular child during the Tiny Tots dance, for instance, the parents may object. Ask for permission. It’s usually all right, Lucero said, as long as the photographers are not trying to make money off of it – like selling postcards.

Other cultural beliefs involve not pointing with fingers. Indicate instead by pursing the lips or nodding in a direction, or as a last resort, use the thumb.

Never walk directly across the arena. Always move in a clockwise direction around the perimeter to get to the other side.

Attending a powwow for a non-Native American can be quite educational, Lucero agreed.

“That’s why we invite the public to come. It’s a Native American gathering, for everyone to learn and enjoy,” he said.

Nevertheless, most native people do not attend a powwow to entertain the crowd. They are there to celebrate their culture, dance, sing, pray, and to visit with family and friends. The audience members are guests.