The songs and dances at a Pow Wow are beautiful representations of the Native American culture (and in our area, we're talking specifically about the Lakota culture). They can be enjoyed and appreciated by all, even those without a lot of experience with these amazing sights and sounds.
...but, for those who want to learn more about the history and tradition of Lakota song and dance, we may have the perfect resource for you!
[Frank] Songs and Dances of the Lakota by Ben Black Bear Sr. (he passed away some years ago…he was a very respected elder on the Rosebud Indian Reservation) and Ronnie Theisz.
The collection include a set of 4 CDs and a book. A very rare aspect of the book is that is has the Lakota words to each song, as well as the direct English translation…which makes it easy for anyone listening to the songs to follow along, learn to pronounce words, and gain insight into the Lakota mind (this is what the song means, this is how to say it)…
[Rose] …because every song has a meaning. Its not just a casual event…
[Frank] …every song has a purpose.
[Rose] …and the dancing serves a purpose, too. As far as honing the skills of a dancer, they have to know the songs as well, otherwise, how would they know when to stop, how would they know when to start…this is a great teaching tool for teaching your family how to speak Lakota, and (like you said) how to understand the mindset of the Lakota from their singing and their dancing.
[Frank] Pow Wows are also a great place to hang out and have fun. It also centers on reuniting the extended family…that's what its really about.