Pow Wow

Hope you are ready for the annual American Indian Council of Laredo’s PowWow at the Civic Center? Starting Friday, May 27, 2011 at 5:00pm, you can join the various nations represented in honoring veterans. If you’ve been to the Laredo PowWows before, you know there will be various dances, drumming and story-telling and plenty of items to buy. I’ll be sure to stop in and stock up on more smudge sticks.

It does say supported by the city of Laredo and “the Honorable Raul G. Salinas, Mayor of Laredo” so… does that mean we are going to see him dancing when it is all nations are called? I’ll be sure to take my camera.

If it’s your first time, here is general “Pow Wow Etiquette” from PowWows.com. Laredo does seem to host a more lax event but nonetheless, you should know.

1. Be on time. The Committee is doing everything possible to ensure that activities begin and run smoothly. Please cooperate in this regard.

2. Appropriate dress and behavior is required in the Arena. Anyone unwilling to abide by this rule will be asked to leave by the Arena Director. (If you are going to dance, try to wear dance clothes.)

3. Arena benches are reserved for dancers. Dancers wishing to reserve a space on the bench should place a blanket in that space before the dance begins. Please do not sit on someone else’s blanket unless invited. Uncovered benches are considered unreserved.

4. Listen to the Master of Ceremonies. He will announce who is to dance, and when.

5. Respect the position of the Head Man and Head Woman Dancers. Their role entitles them to start each song or set of songs. Please wait until they have started to dance before you join in.

6. Dance as long and as hard as you can. When not dancing, be quiet and respect the Arena

7. Be aware that someone standing behind you may not be able to see over you. Make room, step aside, sit, or kneel if someone is behind you.

8. Show respect to the flag and honor songs by standing during “Special” songs, stand in place until the sponsors of the song have danced a complete circle and have come around you, then join in. If you are not dancing, continue to stand quietly until the song is completed.

9. While dancing at any Pow Wow, honor the protocol of the sponsoring group.

10. Some songs require that you dance only if you are familiar with the routine or are eligible to participate. Trot dances, snake, buffalo, etc. require particular steps or routines. If you are not familiar with these dances, observe and learn. Watch the Head Dancers to learn the procedures. Only Veterans are permitted to dance some Veteran’s songs, unless otherwise stated; listen to the MC for instructions.

11. The Flag Song, or Indian National Anthem, is sung when the American Flag is raised or lowered. Please stand and remove hats during the singing of this song. It is not a song for dancing.

12. Powwows are usually non-profit. It depends upon donations, raffles, blanket dances, etc. for support. Donations are encouraged as a way to honor someone. Any participant can drop money onto the blanket to aid in the powwow expenses. Support the Committee and buy raffle tickets.

13. Certain items of religious significance should be worn only by those qualified to do so. Respect the traditions.

14. Giveaways, attributes of Indian generosity, are held at many dances. They are acknowledgments of appreciation to recipients for honor given. When receiving a gift, the recipient thanks everyone involved in the giving. NOTE: All specials and giveaways must be coordinated with the Master of Ceremonies. Please remember that is traditional to make a monetary contribution to the Drum for this request–clear this through the MC.

15. The Drums are sometimes closed, check with the Head Singer for permission to sing.

16. If at any time you are uncertain of procedure or etiquette, please check with the MC, Arena Director, or Head Singer. They will be glad to help you with your questions.

17. Take a chair. Most Pow Wows will not have seating for the public or enough seating for everyone. Also remember that the benches in the arena are for dancers only.

18. No Alcohol or drugs are allowed at Pow Wows.

19. If taking pictures, asked the dancer first. Remember common courtesy and ask permission. Group photographs are usually alright to take, but you might want to ask the committee first.

Remember that in each area you travel to and visit, things can and will be slightly different than your area. Different groups and have different customs and methods of doing things. Different is not wrong, just different. Be respectful of the uniqueness of each area.

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About Que Fregados

Que Fregados is a quirky look at little things that strike us funny in Laredo and the unique Latino culture. Suggestions and comments are welcome. You can also email to quefregados@gmail.com.
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13 Responses to Pow Wow

  1. rick78 says:

    Mayan , Aztec chunteros all tribes in the north belong to these two . I forget there were Indian immigration -customs to keep boundaries separate as it’s done today.

    • Que Fregados says:

      Not all of us are Mayan or Aztec, Rick. My family’s roots are indigenas of the West, twice as tall as those of the south and with a different history and culture. No me pintes con la misma brocha – aunque, si, as you say, we are all NOPALEROS! Ha!

      • rick78 says:

        Well the Aztecs reached to NMexcio, Arizona and up to northern California and farther . Make no mistake not trying to offend your heritage. I know some people up here , Houston area , that are noplaeros chunteros but will say they are NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN DESCENDANTS . I am a mirror up here when those see me they see themselves of who they really are CHUNTERO NOPALERO !! But still LUV YA no matter what tribe you are from :)!!

        • Que Fregados says:

          Still disagree with you but its all good. The language development and material cultures are too different.

          • rick78 says:

            Yes dear but as I stated the Aztec Empire extended far north and of course mingled with other tribes forming different dialects and other things as well . Like the USA is a melting pot , east of Houston there are numerous Cajuns , French mingled with indigenous Indians, which have a dialect and custom of their own a far cry from the french ancestry or Indian culture 🙂 .

  2. Pingback: Yo Quiero Paleta de Mango! | Que Fregados

  3. ___cochise says:

    ___too many rules, if i go i am liable to break one or two and i don’t want to be responsible for restarting the Indian Wars anew . . .

  4. rick78 says:

    Almost forgot , then Creole , French and slave mix . watch out they are more wild than Cajuns .

    • Que Fregados says:

      But let’s not confuse ancient history with even more ancient myth, DEAR. It all depends on how far back you go – we might all be asian or african if that were the case. The indigenous part of my family (because it is mixed with French and who knows what) have been in that area for at least a thousand years.

  5. critters and crayons says:

    We went tonight! I have a post going up with photos soon- It was great for small kids! The costumes were vibrant- and I probably should have read the rules on your post before we went- but I don’t think we violated any! There was one prayer that was almost out of Meet the Fockers, though- really, really long! hahaha! My kids were having a hard time standing still for it. 🙂 But, it was really great and a lot of the merchandise was pretty neat and inexpensive!

  6. Enriqueta says:

    Great to meet you, incredible site. Relieved I stumbled upon it using Google, to bad it turned out on-page three of search results. Keep up the good work, Laredo needs it.

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