COMMUNITY, FAMILY and SPIRITUALITY:
The Powwow is a gathering of people from all over North America. It is a great place to meet people sharing a common heritage, value system, and interests. It's also a great place to make new friends, and that includes romantic partners.
Buddy Whipple, a Mdewakanton Dakota man, explains the historical basis for such gatherings. "You could not marry someone from your own tribe, or your own band, especially your own clan. So what you had to do was to go someplace else and get a wife (or husband). This is the way you found someone that was not of your own tribe."
Leon Thompson, a Yakama Nez perce Fancy dancer adds that "that's what the Powwow is all about--meeting new people and meeting old friends, and one other term called "snagging", you know, boy meets girl and stuff like that. They call that snagging. The announcer says 'Don't be snaggin," or "let her go or let him go...That's how I met my wife on the Powwow trail in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. We just met and ended up going to the same school."
A similar story is recalled by Harvey and Tania Goodsky of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe: "Nine years ago we met at a Powwow. We just started out as friends, we hung around together, and that's all we were, just friends. We walked around and talked, and I guess it just snuck up on me one day, I guess. That's how I can explain it."