Wisconsin Powwows | Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

Wisconsin Powwows

Wisconsin Powwows | Wisconsin Historical Society


Powwow Prep

Becky Taylor and Thomas Cain, Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Members

"Powwow Prep" is for everyone!

If you've ever wanted to learn more about powwows and what to do when you attend one, this is the webinar for you. Becky Taylor and Thomas Cain, Lac Courte Oreilles tribal members, are providing this introduction to powwows webinar. Combined, they have about 80 years of experience on the powwow trail, traveling all over the country and logging thousands of hours powwowing. During this webinar, they will teach us powwow etiquette, so you know what to do and what not to do. You’ll learn how powwows are organized and some fun things to do while attending. Becky and friends will demonstrate dances while Thomas provides live singing and drumming. You can join in the fun from home by getting up and trying the dance moves yourself! Becky will also share some of her favorite stories from the powwow trail.

Questions about this program? Contact Becky Taylor at iluv2powwow@gmail.com or Zach Hartlev at youthservice@badriver-nsn.gov for more information.


Please note: the first two dances between 0:30 and 0:42 experienced audio issues, making it difficult to hear the drum circle and singers. These issues were fixed for the remaining dances in the presentation.

About the Presenters

Becky Taylor, an enrolled member in the Lac Courte Oreilles band of Ojibwe, has been involved in powwows for over 60 years. She is a champion fancy shawl dancer throughout the Midwest and Canada, meaning she has won first place in contest powwows, receiving medals, trophies, plaques, and cash. She has frequently served as Head Lady Dancer and has been a powwow judge multiple times for all female dance categories. Becky has danced every Grand Entry at her tribe's powwow, Honor the Earth, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. She started the Honor the Earth pageant 30 years ago when she was pregnant with her firstborn, Sheena. She has spent every year since teaching youth about Ojibwe culture and powwow etiquette and preparing them for powwow royalty duties. In 1997, Becky helped start the New Years Eve powwow in Lac Courte Oreilles, which offers a fun, sober alternative for people to ring in the new year. She has been the Master of Ceremonies at the Hayward School powwow for 30 years. She makes her own regalia and travels around North America, participating in powwows in almost every conceivable venue. She has danced under chandeliers in ballrooms, next to the green river on St. Patrick's Day in Chicago, on Lambeau Field during halftime, at Historyland in Hayward, at Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, at the First People's Festival in Montreal, in gymnasiums and parking lots, on grassy grounds and under arbors. The furthest away she has ever danced is Stuttgart, Germany. She served as chaperone for Miss Indian World and Miss National Congress of American Indians, hosting them at her home when they visited Lac Courte Oreilles. Becky and her Woodland dance troupe started the Native American Expo, the Landing Resort, on the Chippewa Flowage. The event has been running for 20 years and is geared toward summer visitors, helping them to learn more about Ojibwe culture, powwows, and arts.

Thomas Cain is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe and grew up on the powwow trail. He is the son of Becky Taylor. Thomas has been singing and dancing all over the North American powwow trail for over 30 years. He has sung for 20 years at the Landing Resort powwow, 30 years at the Hayward School powwow, 10 years at Musky Festival events, 27 years at the New Years Eve powwow, and two years at Winter's July 4th powwow and has sung drum songs on WOJB radio. In 2011, he won a Grammy for his part on the Gathering of Nations Powwow album. He sang with Hail Creek, the family drum of his partner, Vanessa Concha. Thomas won a Group of the Year Nammy (Native American Music Award) in 2011 with his local drum group, Pipestone, for their album As the Rez Turns. He is the father of two boys, whom he's already teaching how to sing. Thomas loves singing and dancing at powwows and sharing that passion with the younger generation.

Enlarge2024 Strawberry Moon Festival Powwow flyer
Enlarge2024 St Croix Casino Powwow Flyer
Enlarge50th Annual Oneida Powwow Flyer
Enlarge2024 Red Cliff Powwow Flyer
Enlarge2024 Bear River Powwow Flyer
Enlarge2024 Fond du Lac Veterans Powwow Flyer
Enlarge2024 Honor the Earth Powwow Flyer
Enlarge2024 Bad River Manoomin Celebration Flyer

Powwows are tribal or community-based events that celebrate Native heritage through traditional singing and dancing.

The powwows listed on this page are open to the public. We encourage anyone who would like to learn more about Wisconsin Native people to attend and enjoy these public events.

Please remember to be respectful to the local communities, their laws, and customs.

We will continue to update this page with new powwow flyers as they become available. We will also continue adding tips for enjoying a powwow and other powwow-related items.

Please contact Liz Arbuckle at liz.arbuckle@wisconsinhistory.org if you have a Wisconsin powwow you would like included on our page.

If you are new to powwows, here is a little powwow-prep to help get you started.

What do I do at a powwow if I'm not Native American?

Powwows are fun to watch and experience! You can listen to the songs, watch the dancers, shop the vendors, eat delicious food, visit with old friends, and make new ones. You can even dance during most Inter-tribal songs. Those will be announced on the loud speaker. You do not need to be in Native regalia to dance those all-call, inter-tribal songs.

How do I know what's going on?

Every powwow has an MC that broadcasts over a loud speaker. He is your friendly guide to explaining what is happening and what is coming next. You might hear something like, "Take it away, Sunflower Singers. Give us a good Inter-tribal. Everybody dance!" That's your cue to dance if you want to. If the MC says something like, "We need all our Jingle Dress Dancers in the arena," that means only women and/or girls wearing jingle dresses should be dancing. That's an example of a "special," a unique song and dance that involves specific dancers or a specific dance style. A good MC will usually explain who should and shouldn't be dancing and why. The MC will also let you know what's coming up, like any "specials," which drum is singing next, dinner break, and other notices.

Consult the powwow flyer for Grand Entry times. That will let you know when the opening ceremony for each powwow session will be and when dancing will be happening. If it says Grand Entry is at 12 pm on Saturday, it means the powwow will begin at noon and usually go until a dinner break. The dinner break may or may not be listed on the flyer, but it's usually four or five o'clock, depending on when the afternoon session started. Then, there may be another Grand Entry listed for a night session, like at 7 pm, when the whole thing will start up again. There will be no dancing before the day's first Grand Entry, unless there is a planned special event. There is no dancing during dinner break. Some powwows have a specific end time, while others keep going until we've had enough fun for one night.

Unless you're physically unable to do so, it's expected that you stand for the Grand Entry, Flag Song, Honor Songs and prayers. The MC will usually cue the crowd on when they should stand and when it's okay to sit again.

How do I know if I'm welcome?

If the powwow is open to the public and you come with good intentions, you’ll be welcome. As a general rule of thumb, powwows do not allow alcohol, drugs, firearms, or other weapons. Some outdoor powwows allow dogs on leashes or held in arms, while others do not. Because powwows can be loud and busy, it is best to leave pup at home.


Upcoming Powwows 2024
JuneOde'imini Giizis Strawberry Moon Powwow - Mole Lake, June 14-16 (Flyer)
St. Croix Casino Contest Powwow - Turtle Lake, June 21-23 (Flyer)
50th Annual Oneida Powwow - Oneida, June 28-30 (Flyer)
JulyGaa-miskwaabikaang Red Cliff Powwow - Red Cliff, July 5-7 (Flyer)
Bear River Powwow - Lac du Flambeau, July 12-14 (Flyer)
Fond du Lac Reservation Veterans' Powwow - Sawyer, MN, July 12-14 (Flyer)
Odaawaa-zaaga'iganing Honor the Earth Powwow - Hayward, July 18-21 (Flyer)
AugustBad River Manoomin Celebration - Odanah, August 23-25 (Flyer)

Learn More

Have Questions?



Liz Arbuckle
c/o Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
29270 Co Hwy G
Ashland, WI 54806
Phone: 715-833-5569