Seniors Enjoy Top-Rated Powwows

artspubOur local paper here in The Valley (Phoenix) had a listing of the 10 Best Powwows in the nation.  They noted that every year there are gatherings of thousands of American Indians for a powwow. Most of us have heard the word “powwow” before, but do you know the derivation of the word? This senior enjoys etymology and here’s what I discovered.

The word derives from the Narragansett word powwaw, meaning “spiritual leader.” A similar gathering by California Native Peoples usually in the fall is called a Big Time. A modern powwow is a specific type of event for Native American/First Nations people to meet and dance, sing, socialize, and honor Native American/First Nations culture. Pow wows may be private or public.


So where are the best Powwows? Naturally they take place where there is a large gathering of a particular group of native Americans. Crow Fair, Montana is a good example. Now in it’s 96th year, this gathering is like a state fair for the Crow people.

In Cabazon, California the Morongo Thunder and Lightning Powwow takes place in September. Dancers from around the country assemble for a three day event that takes place at the local casino.

 July 4th Event in North Carolina

The Cherokee, North Carolina event takes place on the 4th of July on the Cherokee reservation and is said to be among the top-ranked events east of the Mississippi. That’s a neat site, isn’t it! Next seniors travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the Hunting Moon Powwow. This one is relatively new on the circuit and has grown tremendously over the past several years.


In Bismark, North Dakota a United Tribes International Powwow takes place in September and includes more than 1,500 dancers.  This is the 45th year for that festival. The Denver March Powwow season kicks in every March with a huge number of Native American drummers.

Seniors Find The Largest Outdoor Powwow

On to Idaho Falls for the Julyamsh Powwow that is the largest outdoor powwow in the Pacific Northwest. 600 dancers and an even larger crowd. The dancers dance on the grass. Out in Salamanca, NY the Marvin “Joe” Curry Veterans Powwow happens mid-July. Formerly called the Seneca Powwow, it was re-named after a tribal member who served in Korea and Vietnam.


The Coushatta Powwow in Kindler, Louisiana is one of the biggest events in the country. Stomp dancing, a style popular among tribes in the southeast, happens in June. The last one is in Albuquerque (had to look up that spelling again…) called a Gathering of Nations. It is REALLY BIG with more than 3,500 dancers and 150,000 spectators.

Senior travelers, you might just run into a Powwow one day on your travels. If so, enjoy! jeb

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