There’s nothing quite like seeing our OA traditions in practice, first-hand. Many regional, state, and national powwows are open to the public. You may show up as a spectator, and you’re encouraged to participate! Thanks to our record in competition powwows and our dedicated AIA leadership, Tonkawa Lodge is respected around many drum circles across the nation.
Where do I start?
- Learn about visiting a powwow and basic powwow etiquette
- If you plan to participate, learn the difference between OA ceremonial regalia and dance regalia (below). Start simple.
- Find a local powwow and show up!
Then you can start learning about the different dances. You might even decide to start acquiring your own regalia for a particular dance and enter competition powwows held at Section Conclave and NOAC. A number of Tonkawa dancers have won national dance titles over the years. You could be next!
Ceremony Regalia vs. Dance Regalia
Basic OA ceremony regalia consists of a ribbon shirt, leggings, and a breechcloth. You may add adornments such as chokers, bandoliers, headwear and footwear, and perhaps a stick or bow held in hand. While colorful, ceremony regalia is meant to be slightly more conservative, less flashy, and hearken back to older traditions of Native American peoples.
Dance regalia, on the other hand, is quite ornate, wildly colorful and often includes shiny bangles that reflect light and noise-making additions such as bells, rattles or beads. Dances sometimes try to simulate a particular action, such as stomping down grass (grass dance) or tracking (included in the straight dance), or the movement of an animal (like the chicken dance).
For starters, your ceremony regalia with few adornments will serve a s good starting point.