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John Butler
Photo: Sandy Peters
John Butler, who is wearing a bone vest and a bustle of eagle feathers down his back, will do a men's traditional dance.

Brinder Jacobs and grandchild

Photo: Sandy Peters
Brinder Jacobs, who is wearing a traditional buckskin dress, holds her grandchild as she waits to dance.

Gabe Bullock
Photo: Sandy Peters
Gabe Bullock is the headman dancer of the powwow. He is preparing two colorful bustles to wear when he performs his speciality, fancy dancing.

Dancers wear bustles of eagle feathers.
Photo: Sandy Peters
Dancers wear bustles of eagle feathers while performing the men's traditional dance.

Fancy dancing

Photo: Sandy Peters
Gabe Bullock and another dancer each wear two colorful bustles as they do some very athletic fancy dancing with fast footwork.


Native American
Powwow Dancing

Powwow at Rice University

Nicole Meier from Switzerland

The pow-wow was just fantastic! I could never have imagined how colorful and impressive this evening would be. The dances and the clothes, which were decorated with eagle feathers, mesmerized me.

I had heard about the powwow dancing in our culture class at Rice University, so I was curious to see what the Native Americans would look like in their traditional clothes.

The opening dance was supposed to start at 6.30 p.m. Since I didn’t want to miss any dances, I arrived there on time; however, the dancing began an hour late.

How could I have forgotten? I had learned in our class that Native Americans have a different feeling for time?

First, they started to play music with their drums; it was accompanied by their low voices. “Hamma hamma…”. The music was exactly the same as I had heard in the movies.

The Native Americans gradually changed their clothes; they wore incredibly amazing costumes, special hairstyles and multicolored faces for the dances.

Finally, the competitions were initiated; the participants danced in distinguished groups. They swung their arms and moved their feet in special steps, always to the rhythm of the music.

After an hour of enthusiastically enjoying them, I took a break to eat some characteristic Native American fried bread.

Finally, at 9.30 p.m., I left that spectacular place, having stayed two hours longer than I had first planned to stay.

I will never forget this unique evening; it gave me a little view into the culture of Native Americans.


View more photos

Behind the Scene:
Dancers and costumes


Interviews with dancers

Gabe Bullock

Brinder Jacobs

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