47th Annual Oneida Powwow

Dawn Walschinski

dawn walschinski | yl voice | july 2019

Male smoke dancers enter the powwow grounds for grand entry at the 2018 Oneida Powwow. Photo by the Kalihwisaks.Powwows for native people are a homecoming; a chance to meet up with friends and relations, catch up on gossip, enjoy food, music, dance and Native American art. Oneida will host its 47th Annual Powwow Friday, June 28 to Sunday, June 30 at the Norbert Hill Center, N7210 Seminary Road, Oneida, Wis.

Each powwow is unique with a mix of the host tribe's traditions as well as area and pan-Indian cultural practices. For example, the Oneida Powwow features smoke dancing which is based on Iroquoian styles of dancing, outfits and music.

If you're new to powwows, this etiquette guide will help you avoid cultural faux pas and enjoy all that the powwow has to offer.

Grand Entry

A grand entry is the kickoff to start the powwow and should not be missed! At this time, area veteran groups will bring out their color guards leading all the dancers. While the grand entry is taking place, spectators should remove their hats and remain standing.

The Oneida Powwow will hold grand entries at 7 p.m., Friday, June 28, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, June 29, and 12 p.m. Sunday, June 30.

Regalia

The outfits that the dancers wear indicate the style of dance he/she is participating in, and often his/her tribe, clan and/or personal interests. A dance outfit is referred to as regalia — never as a costume. A costume suggests that the person is dressing up as something they are not.

Honor Songs

Honors songs are used to call attention and give respect to people or individuals for significant deeds or achievements. Very often, there will be an honor song for military veterans. If you hear the MC announce an honor song, please stand and remove your hat.

Sobriety

The Oneida Powwow prohibits the use of alcohol and drugs on its premises. Powwows are considered ceremonies and thus sobriety is a requirement to enjoy the festivities.

Intertribals

Now for some fun! The MC will announce that an intertribal dance will be held. At that time, anyone is welcome to join in the dancing. There's no need to know any steps, you can walk on the grounds and take in the experience.

Food

There will be a wide variety of food stands offering many styles of culinary delights. Indian tacos lead the menu choices, basically taco toppings served on a large fry bread. If you're looking for more traditional, and healthier, diet choices, many stands will offer wild rice dishes, buffalo, and Oneida style white corn soup.

Native American Arts

There will be many vendors selling American Indian jewelry, pottery, clothing, decorations as well as tee shirts, hats and other items. Take some time to browse the many stands.

The Public is Welcome

Admission to the 47th Annual Oneida Powwow for a weekend pass is $12, a daily pass is $7, people 60 years old and older are free as are children 5 and younger.

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