Pow Wow Regalia: History & Tradition Mixed with Personal Style

Embodying the spirit and soul of the culture, the dancers at Pow Wow are vibrant reflections of tribal history mixed with personal style.

These elaborate Native American outfits are very unique to each dancer, but they also speak of familial ties - as dancers move to the rhythmic beat of the drum, they tell of their tribal affiliation and ancestry, reveal their individual personality, family heritage, and spiritual quests.

Each outfit is a representation of the love of one's family and they're hope for our future generations. - Rose Kern

Traditional to Contemporary Native American Dress
To capture the essence of each dancer, regalia ranges from the historically accurate dress of the grass and traditional dancers, as well as the more modern clothing of the fancy and jingle dress dancers. These more contemporary outfits often blend design elements of many different sources and are influenced by the latest fashion trends or changes in personal style.

Special Regalia Elements
Worn with pride and a deep sense of honor, elements of this treasured dress are often gifted to the dancers by tribal elders or special people in the dancer's life.

Examples of these special elements:

Making, Enhancing, or Repairing Regalia
The regalia worn during Pow Wow is a cherished garment - it is often made or commissioned by those special to the dancer.

While beautiful and rewarding once it's done, making regalia is also a time intensive process and is often made to be with the dancer for many years. These outfits will evolve and change over a lifetime - enhanced with a new scarf, roach or even face paint, further embellished with beads, feathers, shells, or fringe, or (due to the intense dancing and wear) repaired and made new.

  • Glass Beads: Use Czech or Venetian glass beads for historical, modern, or tribal beadwork designs on clothing or jewelry.
  • Unique Craft Supplies: Use feathers, porcupine quills, fringe, or conchos and jingle cones to decorate and adorn a current outfit...and make it truly shine.
  • Pow Wow Accessories: The final touches, from scarves to face paint.

In the End...

All of this hard work comes down to that special moment, when the dancers step out into the arena and begin the movement of feet to the drum, swaying like grass in the wind and mimicking the steps taught by elders. Focusing all this positive energy into a call to the past and the future.