Arts & Culture, Book, Celebrations, Multicultural, Native American


By: George Ancona
Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1993
Age Level: 9-12
Language: English
ISBN: 0-15-263268-9 (hardcover), 0-15-263269-7 (paperback)


Throughout the year in cities and towns and on reservations across the United States and Canada, Native Americans gather to celebrate their heritage and culture. Suits and ties, jeans and tennis shoes give way to breastplates and bustles, leggings and moccasins. In a kaleidoscope of color and movement, men, women, and children step and spin to the driving beat of a drum. 

They come together in friendship to share the traditions of a powwow. But what exactly is today’s powwow? What happens at one? What’s a Grass dancer? Or a giveaway? 

George Ancona traveled to Crow Agency, Montana, to attend the summer Crow Fair, the largest powwow held in the United States. Through beautiful full-color photographs, he offers an exceptional look at the celebration of Native American pride called a powwow.





  • New York Public Library Children’s Book List 100 Titles, 1993
  • Emphasis on Reading Award, Alabama Reading Incentive Council, 1993 
  • POWWOW was shown and read by Big Bird in a Sesame Street episode dedicated to reading.


“The Crow Reservation in Montana is the site of the biggest powwow in North America. Lakota, Ojibwa, Fox and other tribes gather in this photographic tribute to their shared American Indian heritage. Colorful, full-page photos document the adventures of Anthony Standing Rock and his family, who have traveled far to attend the feast. Ancona’s camera captures traditional practices but also keenly observes their relationship with the late 20th century: Cars parked alongside teepees, participants wear Los Angeles Lakers T-shirts as well as beaded dresses and dine on foot long hot dogs as well as fry bread.”
The Oregonian

“While this book may document events at a traditional Native American celebration, Ancona is careful to show us more than ancient beads and feathers. Each dance has its own conventions and costumes, and the sharp color photos show the incredible detailing of the elaborate clothing and headdresses that the dancers construct. The dancing is just part of the get-together, so there are also plenty of shots of friends chatting and eating, and family members watching appreciatively while a son or daughter dances. Modern touches are everywhere. The effect of such accents is neither ironic nor jarring; rather, it gives the old ways–in new forms–the breath of continuing relevance.”
The Bulletin