Wisconsin Powwows | Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

Wisconsin Powwows

Fall 2022

Wisconsin Powwows | Wisconsin Historical Society
EnlargeSt Croix Tribal Events flyer
EnlargeGerald Ignace Health Center Social Dance flyer
EnlargeHo-Chunk Day 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.

 

Autumn Powwows 2022
Various DatesSt. Croix Tribal Community Pow-Wows - Various locations, October 30, November 13, November 27, December 25 (Flyer)
NovemberGerald L. Ignace Health Center Social Dance - Milwaukee, November 4 (Flyer)
2022 Ho-Chunk Day Traditional Powwow - Baraboo, November 25 (Flyer)

Learn More

Have Questions?

 

Contact:

Liz Arbuckle
c/o Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
29270 Co Hwy G
Ashland, WI 54806
Phone: 715-685-2667