Filmed on location at the Yerington Paiute Tribal Headquarters and the Pyramid Lake Museum, Northern Paiute Powwow Regalia presents interviews with tribal members about their traditional dance outfits.
The distinctive styles of clothing worn by dancers during a Powwow are called regalia or outfits. Powwow outfits are not worn casually, but for events that have personal, spiritual, cultural, and/or community significance, as do the individual elements of the outfits themselves. The whole serves as an expression of the dancers’ personal, family, and community history and culture. As you will see and hear, some elements may be gifts from elders or other important people in the dancers’ lives. Colors, designs, and materials used may all have significance. Specific pieces bring honor both to the wearer and to the person (or people) who presented the gift or who is being memorialized
Because outfits express the life of the individual dancer, elements may change over time. A dancer may have several outfits for different dances or different seasons. Motifs and styles from other tribes are considered appropriate as long as the dancer uses them with respect and permission. Outfits may be worn primarily for competition in specific types of dances, and sometimes reflect significant life changes, such as reaching an important age or achieving a long-sought goal. As long as the pieces have meaning to the wearer, blending historic and modern elements and materials is not seen as contradictory or inappropriate.
This film is part of Nevada Stories, an online video project of the Nevada Arts Council’s Folklife Program, funded through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.