Photography Etiquette

Outside of the Arena

Dancers may or may not choose to have his or her picture taken, so always ask for permission before taking pictures of any one in regalia. When asking permission to take a photo, do not touch a dancer’s regalia. Many of the ornaments have religious meaning.

Do not photograph children without a parent’s permission.

Inside of the Arena

It is permissible to take pictures while dancers are in the arena, except when the following happens:

When the eagle feather drops, no photos are allowed at this time

The Eagle is a sacred animal for many tribes, and the wearing of Eagle feathers is an honor and privilege. Dignity and reverence are mandatory both in and out of the arena. Eagle feathers should never touch the ground or floor, even when assembling bustles, roaches, etc. If a feather is dropped while dancing it should not be picked up by the dancer. This will be done by a veteran who has been appointed beforehand. When a feather is dropped, the dancer dances in a place over the feather. When it is picked up, the dancer dances next to the veteran and when the song ends, they shake hands, the dancer thanks the veteran and presents him with a gift. During this time no pictures are allowed. When an eagle whistle is blown, the sound is a highly emotional invitation to participate in a ceremonial dance. There are no pictures or video allowed during the whistle blowing and accompanying dance. It is up to you to watch the MC and Arena Director carefully for instructions. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to remind photographers about Powwow photography etiquette. Please be respectful if you are asked to stop taking photos or filming.