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Healing Ways / Medicine Ways / The Key Role of Ceremony / Powwow, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, 1916
Black and white photograph of several Native Americans sitting down in a circle around a fire with four erected teepees in the background.
Powwow, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, 1916

A century ago, most powwows involved Natives only, and some included healing ceremonies as well as cultural activities and community sharing.  It was rare for non-Natives to attend.  Today, powwows have evolved into primarily social and cultural events.  Many hundreds of powwows are held each year by tribal groups throughout the United States, in urban as well as rural areas. All people are welcome at most powwows, where they can learn about Indian dancing, singing, drumming, food, culture, and performance regalia.  Powwows are important to Native participants as a place to express and share their tribal cultural traditions.

Courtesy Department of Interior, National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection, Harpers Ferry Center