Red Lake Powwow

Our Pow Wow will be Friday, June 7th and Saturday, June 8th

Pow Wow Protocols

  • The Grand Entry is the official opening of the Pow Wow, often lead by veterans, Flag Carriers and Head Dancers. As a sign of respect, standing and removing hats is the protocol during this opening (unless one’s ability or mobility is preventative).
  • The Master of Ceremonies or M.C. helps run the Gathering by announcing singers, drummers, and dancers. They conduct the Gathering, provide historical significance of each dance, and will notify attendees of Honour Songs that require standing.
  • Regalia is the clothing that dancers wear. It is not a costume. Regalia is often spiritually or historically significant: either handed down through generations, handmade by family members, or meticulously crafted by the individual. Never touch someone’s Regalia. Regalia has deep personal and ceremonial significance.
  • The Drums provide the heartbeat of a Gathering. Some drums have traditions that dictate when and where they can be played, while “Drums” can also be used for dancing and celebration. Do not attempt to play or touch without permission.
  • Photographs of the dances are generally permissible, however one should never take a close-up photo of a dancer without first asking. If in doubt, find an organizer and ask. If a sacred event is taking place, the MC will announce that photos are not permitted.
  • Sound recordings of the drums require permission from the performers.
  • Some songs are also sacred and should not be audio recorded without permission.
  • Alcohol and Substance use is strictly forbidden. Pow Wows are sacred and sober events.
  • No pets are allowed on the Powwow grounds. Service animals are to remain leashed.

The History of the Ribbon Skirt

The history of the ribbon skirt is complex and diverse, shaped by cross-cultural interactions and historically significant events. The modern ribbon skirt can be traced back to the woolen broadcloth skirts worn by Euro-American women in the 1800s. Indigenous women then transformed these skits by adding their own designs, such as intricately embroidered floral patterns and brightly coloured ribbon trim.

The resulting ribbon skirts became a symbol of Indigenous resistance and a way for women to express their cultural identity and pride.

A ribbon skirt can be as simple as a piece of clothing, or as sacred as a piece of regalia used only for Sweatlodge and Ceremony. It can be an expression of womanhood and strength, of remembrance of the Missing and Murdered, a symbol of defiance and protection of natural resources against corporate powers, or a representation of the journey of those who are reclaiming their identities through traditional practices. Ribbon skirts are a symbol of resilience, survival and identity, but their meaning changes with each person who wears one and each person who shares their history.

According to some Elder teachings, ribbon skirts are worn as a symbol of the sacredness of women as life bearers. They also serve as a way to honour the values taught in the teepee or around the home fire and symbolizes the cyclical nature of life; and when your skirt touches the ground, it connects you to the earth. The Grandmothers who have come before us and paved the way for our journey as women are also honoured through the wearing of these skirts. As we journey through life together, our choices and actions in the present moment have the power to impact future generations, a fact that our skirts remind us of.

Today, ribbon skirts remain an important part of Indigenous culture and can be seen at powwows, ceremonial events, and everyday wear. The Ribbon Skirt Project aims to explore the history and significance of this garment and to promote the skills and knowledge needed to create them.