Southern Straight Dance
by Gerry Hubbell

Headdress—roach or turban
Ribbonwork set and dragger (vest optional)
Shirts and scarves
Side tabs and garters
Bandoleer and choker set (breastplate optional)
Armbands and cuffs
Hand ornaments

Southern Straight Dance is from Oklahoma, commonly considered the tuxedo of powwow clothes, and is a formal, elegant, tailored style. Everything matches or coordinates. It looks as if it is planned all at one time. The elegance comes from its vertical silhouette--many things that are tall are considered elegant (skyscrapers, cathedrals, high heels...). Especially when seen from the back, many of the lines of the outfit are resolutely vertical--the roach (or turban) flows onto the otter dragger, which flows onto the trailer, aprons and leggings; and the side tabs are also vertical lines. There are often bandoleers, which are semi-vertical, or a vest, which may have vertical lines, and normally an oversized shirt that covers the tops of the aprons. The only major horizontal lines are the belt and shirt hem, and then there are small articles--hand ornaments, hair ornaments and moccasins.

A headdress is mandatory, normally a roach, but sometimes a turban. A good roach is made of porcupine hair and lined with deer hair, with additional rows of deer hair around the outside. (article) Modern roaches have become fairly long—you still place your wrist on your eyebrows, and the base of the middle finger is where you put the front edge of the roach. However, instead of ending above the neckerchief, as they did in the 1970s, they often are a little longer than the neckline of the shirt. Southern roaches stand up straighter than northern roaches, and there’s less emphasis on getting the longest possible guard hair. The main hairs of the roach are, in ascending order of desirability, plain fiber, porcupine guard hair, and turkey beard hair. A german silver spreader goes inside the roach, and normally one (sometimes two) feathers are put in the spreader (avoid red feathers, unless you have the war honor). Exceptionally, a bone spreader might be used. There is normally a hair ornament attached to one of the strings holding the roach on the head—this is a rosette with two long feathers and one or two strings with horsehair tassels at the ends. Both feathers and the tassels have matching peyote beadwork. The headband is usually a white handkerchief, plain cotton, and folded diagonally into a band that is tied on the forehead. In the 1990s, there was a fashion for the white headband to indicate a Native American Church member, however, that fashion is gone today—everybody who wears a roach is also wearing the white handkerchief. (White is still sometimes associated with the Church, depending on the intention of the wearer, or sometimes you will see half red and half blue outfits, red on the heart or left side, that the wearer intends to be associated with the Church.)

Alternatively, a turban might be worn—it’s just a standing circle of stiff cloth, normally covered by otter fur (or matching the ribbonwork set, which follows). The part that goes around the head is four or five inches tall, and a second piece, a triangular tail, covers the back seam and, with a horsehair tassel at the end, extends to the level of the shoulder blades.

It’s difficult to exaggerate the importance of the headdress. At a formal war dance, new members of the society are “roached”—that is, they arrive with no headdress and a member of the society ties one on the new member. A substantial give-away then follows in payment for the honor, normally funded by the new member’s family. A person who is dancing, holding but not wearing his roach, is in mourning. The turban may relate to the turbans worn by roadmen—that is, the person who conducted the peyote ceremony, a priest. It may or may not mean that today, depending on the intention of the wearer.

In addition, at a minimum, there must be a matched set of aprons, a trailer and a dragger (the ribbonwork set). Normally, they are made of heavy wool trade cloth, and the standard colors are blue and red (Dark blue is the most common. In recent years, I have found red being used by first sons and heads of households, and it would be an exceptional color for that reason. However, very recent fashions have allowed for purple, yellow, and turquoise trade cloth, and I wouldn't be surprised by other colors in the near future.). Trade cloth is a blanket-weight wool with stripes of different colors woven into the selvedge edges, and these edges do show at the bottom of the aprons and trailer. If the leggings are also made of trade cloth, they will match, and the selvedge edge will be on the inside flap that doesn’t carry the ribbonwork. It will be just barely visible—but if it doesn’t match the color and weight of the aprons and trailer, it won’t look right. Cloth leggings are worn “backwards”--that is, the flaps are folded toward the front of the leg, rather than the side. The ribbonwork on the legging is arranged to align with the edge of the front apron, cover the kneecap and then flow down to the instep of the foot. Ribbonwork strips go the length of the aprons and wool leggings and three bars of it cross the trailer. Proportions on the ribbonwork set--the aprons should cover about 3/4 of the waist measure, are long enough to cover from waist to knee, and are open on the sides. The trailer should be 4 to 6 inches narrower than the back apron. Formerly, it was normally on top of the back apron, now, I find that a majority of trailers are worn under the apron, but not (yet) an overwhelming majority. Good sets of ribbonwork have edges of white edgebeading on the vertical edges. One, two, or three ribbons bind the raw edges not covered by the main ribbonwork, and they can be cut into simple designs. Really nice sets use ribbonwork patterns, but are actually appliqué beads. See the (article) on ribbonwork on page xx.

I've been saying "if the leggings match"--the Kiowa and Comanche like tab leggings. Leather is normal, preferably white, but some are canvas. If you plan to use them where weather may be rainy, you might opt for smoked leather. It’s a center seam legging—meaning that the seam runs down the front of the leg, and a rolled leather fringe is inserted into the seam from knee to ankle. Two tabs hang from the leggings, running along the seam from waist to knee, and then the ends hang in front of the legging. The insides of the tabs are lined in a contrasting fabric (wool was traditional, but lighter fabrics, like taffeta, are common today, and they don’t have to be of the same color on both tabs). The bottoms of the tabs have little tassels of horsehair or rolled fringe, and the top of the tassel has an inch or two of peyote beadwork. The outside of the tabs has single lanes of lazy stitch beadwork and the edges have edgebeading. The Kiowa tabs are generally triangular, with the end coming to a point. The Comanche are generally squared off at the end (but there are many exceptions). One or more rows of single-lane lazy stitch may go around the ankle, and the ankle opening may have a small cut fringe. Tab leggings are fun to dance in—the tabs really fly up with every step, as does the fringe, and if you manage them well, the extra motion may be a competitive advantage. Judges like them, too, because they’re very traditional. (diagram)

There is also a Black Legging Society, and I would avoid using black for the wool parts of your ribbonwork set if it’s done in a Kiowa style and you aren't a member. The Otoe have the basic set, all wool, however, they appliqué bead in floral patterns and the feet are partially covered by the leggings. A recent trend is to just have patches of appliqué ribbonwork on the main pieces, possibly repeated on the shirt, and then use tab leggings. Vests were exceptional in the 1970s, but are fairly common today—if worn, they will match the ribbonwork set. I do not see vests with breastplates very often, however, on hot days, a dancer might wear a vest and no shirt (I wouldn’t recommend that for a competitive dance. It looks informal. I’d wear a vest in competition, but I wear a shirt under it.)

The raw edges of the otter dragger should match the binding on the rest of the ribbonwork set. In old times, the dragger was a sash of otter fur worn by warriors. If the battle looked ill, they would stake themselves to the ground using the sash as a sign they would never retreat. (There was an officer called the whipman, of extreme courage, who had authority to beat them with a whip and literally drive them from the field, should that prove necessary. Whipmen are still part of the Heyoska committee, responsible for invitations. ) The stake has become the tail stick, of which more lately, but all straight dancers wear a dragger. A standard dragger hangs from the back of the neck to the ankles, is normally covered in otter fur (sometimes omitted), and then there are one or more beaded rosettes, possibly a loom beaded strip matching the belt. Peyote beaded feathers (usually fairly large ones—at least a foot long) may be attached to the rosettes. Some dancers prefer to substitute German silver conchos for the beaded medallions; in fact, the Comanche do an all-concho dragger--their tradition was to have very long hair, and they would put plates of German silver in it in a long strip hanging down the back. Comanche draggers normally do not have the otter fur, beadwork, or feathers, but the entire dragger is covered with the hair plates. The dragger is usually about four inches wide through most of its length, but the lower third tapers to about two inches wide. If there is a turban instead of a roach, it matches the otter dragger. (Illustration—dragger options)

It is normal to have a ribbon shirt over the ribbonwork set, but under the dragger. This is constructed of rectangles--see the diagram. It may match the ribbonwork set, particularly if three-ribbon or four-ribbon patterns are used, or it may just co-ordinate. There is a possible exception--if there is a vest that is part of the ribbonwork set, it may take the place of the shirt and the bandoleers (although I've seen them all being worn at once). German silver armbands and cuffs are normal, and traditional, however, in recent years, I’ve been seeing lazy-stitch beaded armbands and cuffs. Normally there will be scarves and ribbons to match the shirt—“scarves” means a neckerchief and two handkerchief sized scarves on the bandoleers. The ribbons go on the armbands—in recent years, these ribbons have begun to extend from just wrist length to as low as the knee. It is normal to have more than one shirt for a set, even if only one is worn at a time--each time you arrive at the dance arena, you want the shirt and scarves to look fresh. If you're like me, and many other dancers, you're going to work up a good sweat, even under ideal conditions. Oklahoma (and Missouri) can be hot and humid, particularly during the main powwow season. I like a cotton print--see my remarks under competition strategy—but brocades, satin, taffeta, sequin cloth, gold lame, and almost any other spectacular cloth can be found at powwows. Whatever the cloth, if it is see-through, wear a plain T-shirt underneath it (For that matter, dancers also wear socks and swim trunks or bicycling shorts under the leggings. Keep them inconspicuous.).

If you're doing your own ribbonwork, (article) get enough extra material to have a set of scarves in each of the colors--that will allow an exact color match. On an exceptional basis, we sometimes see a floral scarf for the neckerchief and just “love feathers”—miniature loose fans without the fringe—attached to the bandoleers (and sometimes the matching scarf set has the love feathers on top of the bandoleer scarves). A very traditional use of the bandoleer scarves is to stuff about a cubic inch of sweetgrass into the center of the scarf, tie it off, and, in theory, you’ll smell better. Otherwise, the bandoleer scarves are folded in fourths and safety-pinned flat to the bandoleers (a nice touch is to have a rosette over the pin). The neckerchief is folded in half diagonally and rolled, with a triangular point at least as big as the shoulder scarves left at the center back. A slide, either german silver or beadwork matching the fan or the other rosettes in the outfit, holds it together at the front. It should cover up the ties for both the choker and the otter dragger.

The garters and side tabs are finger woven and the colors should co-ordinate with the rest of the outfit. The side tabs hang from hip to mid-calf, and the garters wrap around the knee and the ends hang almost to the ground. The better sets have beads woven into the fabric. Originally, the side tabs were the ends of a sash, but because the shirt covered it entirely, we just have the ends today. If you’re making your own (see the (article) on page xx), save the ends of the yarn that you can’t weave into the tabs. You can work them into tassels for your bandoleers, or braid them for the base of the roach. It helps to make it look like the whole outfit was planned at once, a good thing. It’s normal to have knee bells over the garters, either chrome or brass, and mounted on a long leather strip. I sometimes see deer toes in place of the knee bells.

The standard moccasins are Southern Cheyenne (unless the outfit is specifically intended to represent a particular tribe), and should be at least partially beaded—fully beaded moccasins are a strong plus, and fairly normal. (article) As an example of moccasins intended to declare that the outfit represents a particular tribe, Comanche dusters have just two lanes of lazy stitch running from the top of the instep to the toe, a row of tin cones on the outside edge of the outside lane, flaps around the ankle opening that turn down (also with a lane of lazy stitch around the outline, and edge beading), a rosette at the top of the instep, and a rolled fringe inserted into the heel seam. (article)

The bandoleers and choker normally match as to materials and colors, normally having from one to three strands and exceptionally four or five. It is possible to have a set of bandoleers with unequal numbers of strands. Bandoleers are worn crisscross on the body, extending from the shoulder to a connector just past the hip, and then the strands are allowed to hang below the connector. You need to safety pin them to the shoulders of the shirt. Normally, four or five inch hair pipes make up some of the sections of the bandoleers and two inch hair pipes make up part of the choker, with the rest of the length made up of chrome and crystal beads of about the same diameter as the hair pipes. Leather spacers hold the strands in position—a doublewide one being used as the connector at the hip. A rosette may be in the center of the choker, and it may have a couple of dangles matching the bandoleers. The ends of the dangles and strands of the bandoleers may have tassels on them, or coins, or similar small objects. Exceptionally, and very traditionally, mescal beans may be used for the bandoleers, sometimes alternating with chrome beads (Mescal bean bandoleers are often worn in the gourd dance, or in Native American Church ceremonies.). They are worn over the shirt or vest, and under the dragger, but may be either under or over the belt.

In addition to the bandoleers, a breastplate may be worn. Roughly a third of straight dancers do so—it should be considered an optional item. Of dancers that do wear them, a strong majority are wearing bone breastplates—that is, thirty or so rows of hair pipes ((illustration)) (Usually two pipes, each about four or four and a half inches long, with a center row of other beads. These “other beads” might be a short hair pipe (1 inch) or might match the chrome and crystal beads in the bandoleers and choker.) The rows are connected by strips of leather at the ends of the hair pipes, which in turn are connected to a thong that goes around the neck—and therein lies the problem with a bone breastplate. Even if you use composition hair pipes instead of bone, you’re putting some pounds on a string over the neck. A second string around the back will take some of the weight off your neck, and we pad that neck string with a handkerchief (I’ve padded it with a washcloth on occasion—all gets hid by the neckerchief), but it’s still not very comfortable to wear. As an alternative, we sometimes see the otter breastplate—the full skin of the otter, split down the center, edged in ribbonwork, sometimes decorated with medallions or conchos like the otter dragger on the back but without the feathers. While it is more comfortable in terms of weight, otter fur is an excellent insulator, particularly if you back it with wool.

The belt is normally loom beadwork, 4 to 4 1/2 inches wide, and mounted on heavy leather. It should be long enough so that the dragger covers the buckles in the back. Some dancers prefer silver conchos instead of beadwork. It’s normal to have half an inch of leather extending beyond the edges of the beadwork, and this will carry domed chrome tacks or spots. If the dancer has chosen to do a strip of loom beadwork on his otter dragger, it would match the belt, be about two inches wide, be attached with one or two beaded rosettes or silver conchos, and it might have dangles at the lower end that match the bandoleers. Nearly all-straight dancers carry a fan and either a mirror board or a tail stick. If the tail stick is present, then it goes in the right hand and the fan in the left—otherwise, the fan goes in the right hand and the mirror board on the left. In the 1970s, a flat fan was carried by a substantial majority of straight dancers, however, the modern trend is almost equally divided between flat, loose, and wing fans. It used to be more or less mandatory that the fan and at least parts of the tail stick were peyote beaded (In competition, I strongly suggest having the beadwork. A large part of the “talking” you will do with the dance is with the hands, and the judges’ eyes will be there. It’s like the moccasins—have some beadwork there, because that’s where the judges’ eyes are.). Dancers sometimes carry a pouch of white deerskin hanging from the wrist, with beaded rosette and/or a bead fringe that matches the bandoleers (Give-aways are common for straight dancers, and you need to have a stock of dollar bills with you, or maybe your car keys.). In the 1970s, the tail stick was the badge of office of a tail dancer in a Hethuska Society, usually given by another experienced dancer, and a considerable honor. Today the tail stick is carried by many dancers in and out of the Hethuska dance (I carry a tail stick in competition, but a mirror board in an Hethuska). If in doubt, a mirror board may be carried by any dancer. Exceptionally, the whipman does carry a quirt in the Hethuska (And as a badge of office. I’ve never seen one carried in competition, and were I a whipman, I would avoid carrying a quirt in competition—some judges think, and rightly, that you are claiming an honor. If it’s a dance competition, then some judges prefer that you not emphasize prior honors, even those you rightfully bear. The same theory applies to women’s competitions—many ladies have earned honors as the princess of a powwow, but they compete without their sashes and crowns.) .

So how do you win? Well, remember that it is a judged competition. You have to think like a judge. You can assume that they're crazy, or the committee just pulled in people off the street (in which case, the committee is also crazy, and suicidal), and if so, there's nothing you can do. Alternatively, you can assume that they know what they're looking for, and know the traditions of the dance, and then there are some general principles that will help:

1.   Go to powwows. Yes, I mean more than one of them. See who wins—if your goal is to win competitions, then do as you would in any athletic competition. If you want to be a better athlete, then watch, and imitate, athletes who are better than you. Straight dance does change, but not quickly. For instance, the step we used during trot dances in the 1970s didn’t lift the knees as high as the modern fashion, and trot dances weren’t as common in competition. Trot dances are fun, show off the outfit, and are very traditional—but you need the basic intertribal step and the trot step. Straight dancers move clockwise—counterclockwise would be a retreat, and not consistent with the warrior tradition (If you keep your face to the front, you can dance backwards for a couple of steps, but make it clear that it’s a tactical retreat, and charge into the next move.). Don’t dance the lead line—wait for the second and the rest of the drum to chime in (shows respect for the lead singer). Each push will have a lead line—maybe just a syllable or two—keep the step going, but do your tricks on the honor beat and then rest a little on the lead line. Tricks—if nothing else, bend over your fan or “track” with your tail stick on the honor beats. This is not a race. You don’t get points for speed, or for ground covered. You do get points for showing pride, for smoothness and grace, for knowing the song and the etiquette. Practice helps.

2.   Dance well. Yes, a really flashy shirt may attract a judge's attention for a moment, but in a competitive dance-off it only buys you about ten seconds with a competent judge. If you're not dancing during that time, the judge will notice, and his attention will move to the other dancers. In fact, I go for a cotton shirt precisely because so many dancers are in sequins or polyester--the cotton looks more traditional, and if I'm the only dancer on the floor not in neon, I stand out. I want the judge looking at me at the end of the song, not at the beginning. You get more points for ending with the song than you do for dancing on the lead line--it shows you know the etiquette as well as the song. Know as many songs as possible—you can't know them all, but the more you know, the more likely you are to end with a little kick on the last beat. There are indeed head drummers that want to trick dancers, and whatever it is that they decide to sing is what you have to work with, so dance the first push as if it was the only one. All of the dancers are dancing to the same song, so it's fair--if you know the song. Remember that you are dancing to the song, not the drum--the song will be a little off from the beat, and a good judge will see that. Song and drum do come together on the honor beats and at the end, and the song will tell you when those beats will happen. Spend some time on the drum--maybe you can't sing in public, but you're dancing in public, and it has to look as if you know what the singers are doing. They talk about smoothness or fluidity—that means that you get from one move to another naturally and easily. Practice--this is a language, a communication. It should look like you belong out on the floor, that it's normal for you to be a part of this culture, and if it feels weird--to you--you will look weird. Pride—you can hold your back straight, make each step look deliberate, all that kind of thing, but straight dance is method acting. You're carrying out a great tradition--look like you're aware of it.

3.   Do the math. If the announced rules of the powwow say that you get extra points for being in the Grand Entries (most do), then I can assure you that if there are a dozen dancers in your category, each and every one of the prizewinners will have been in each of the Grand Entries. You can't afford to give away those points. Know when you have to be there, dressed for the entry, and know when you have to be there for the registration. Allocate your time appropriately. That includes travel time, and make sure that all of your dance clothes are in fact with you--nothing like having to go back to the hotel for your shirt or something. It also helps to know the powwow--if it is the kind of event that is run mostly by volunteers, then be a volunteer. In theory, judges look at what's on the dance floor, but in practice, if you've been doing good things for the committee, there may come a time when a tie-breaker is decided on the basis of who's been helping make the powwow happen. Actually, I'm not upset by that—straight dancers are supposed to be the society members who make things happen. Some powwows codify that and give formal points for helping out, but it never hurts to have a good name.

4.   A solid set of clothes helps. At a minimum, that means that it is reasonably complete, and nothing falls off during the dance. A long time ago, this was the dance of a warrior society. If a warrior lost stuff on the trail, he endangered his war party, because they were easier to track. Now, not all powwows will mark you down for everything, but it never helps. I once lost a bell in competition and returned the ribbon--the powwow committee advised me that I was being very strict about the rule, but I told them that I would rather have the name of a good sportsman than a dance lawyer, and besides, there's nothing like dancing on somebody else's loose bell when you're not expecting it (done that, too, in the dark, and in grass--extra fun). That committee asked me to be their head dancer the following year--must have been a coincidence. I like to wear clothes that are correctly made, with enough bold design to catch initial attention, and then enough detail so that any judge can come as close as he likes and still find something interesting. It's better if those details are traditional, so do your research. A few colors that go well together will help more than lots and lots of colors. Everything needs to match, and it should look like you put it on fresh just before the dance--press your scarves and shirt, allow enough time to get dressed so that everything is in the right place, and make sure it looks complete. Being in good shape yourself also helps—if you don't have the stamina to dance throughout the powwow, and dance hard for all of the contest, somebody else is likely to take home the prize.

5.   In any art medium, you exploit that medium--you make it look better because you're taking advantage of the medium, rather than in spite of it. OK, so you've got a lot of clothes on--dance with them. The side tabs can trip you, and the dragger can get between your feet. It is not normal to be sprawled on the floor in straight dance, and if that happens, it's a good bet that you will be winning on a different day. That would be dancing against your clothes. Alternatively, you can make them swing with you so that they accentuate what you're doing. Practice in them--you don't have to be fully dressed each and every time you dance, but if you put the dragger and tabs on, and carry your hand ornaments, it will feel normal for them to be there, and you'll get that little hip swing that makes it look normal for them to be there. It's not rocket science, but it works. If I don't have a fan with me and I absolutely have to dance in practice, I pick up a piece of paper and hold it as I would hold a fan--it's all about muscle memory. It can look really odd when I use a pen to replace the tail stick, but if I dance in practice as if it was something glorious, then when I get to the powwow, I'm no longer worried about whether it looks correct. Yes, I mentioned practicing. Again. Could be coincidence.

6.   Teach dancing. I would agree that it's a good thing for the students to receive the tradition, but the teacher also benefits. If you have to explain whatever it is that you are doing, it will force you to understand it better. Be flexible in how you explain things--each explanation needs to be valid, but not all of them will communicate with every student. If you have to explain the same thing in different ways, you will reinforce your own understanding. If you are showing what you are teaching, you will be practicing it, too--yes, more practice. Could be coincidence.


Bailey, Garrick and Swan, Daniel. Art of the Osage. St. Louis Art Museum and University of Washington Press. St. Louis, MO and Seattle, WA. 2004.Catalog of the exhibition at the St. Louis Museum. Dr. Bailey is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Tulsa. Dr. Swan is a former Chief Curator of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa. Additional work was done on the book by John Nunley, organizing curator of the exhibition, and E. Sean StandingBear, as a representative of the Osage Tribal Council. Those are the best possible qualifications for academic authors, and the book is equally outstanding in terms of presenting many styles of Osage art. Its focus is not on how to make the articles, but it is authoritative with regard to style.

Coe, Ralph. Sacred Circles: Two Thousand Years of North American Indian Art. Nelson-Atkins Gallery of Art and the Arts Council of Great Britain. Kansas City, MO. 1977. Catalog of the exhibition. Mr. Coe was the project organizer, but there were numerous contributors, and the exhibition was one of the landmark exhibitions of Native American art. An excellent resource for photographs of Native American art.

Dean, David. Beading in the Native American Tradition. Interweave Press, Loveland, CO. 2002 Mr. Dean is part Choctaw and a frequent dancer on the powwow circuit, based out of Texas. The book is an excellent how-to book with regard to technique, but I have some stylistic reservations (e.g, rolled edges on fan handles, the size of the bulbs he uses to secure fringes.). Could be Texan variants. However, it¢s the most recent good instruction manual, and well worth the price.

Kelley, Helen. Scarlet Ribbons: American Indian Techniques for Today¢s Quilters. Written Heritage, Folsom, LA. 1999. Ms. Kelley is a quilter and an author, and some of those tendencies do show in the book. However, the book has won general acceptance in the powwow world as the best instruction manual on how to do ribbonwork. It is lavishly illustrated, both with photos and line drawings.

Swan, Daniel. Peyote Religious Art, Symbols of Faith and Belief. University Press of Mississipi, Jackson, MS. 1999. Dr. Swan is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director, Chucalissa Museum, at the University of Memphis. One of the most prolific and well-respected authors on modern Native American art. This book discusses in detail the influence of peyote religion on Oklahoman art.

Whispering Wind. Written Heritage, Folsom LA. This magazine is written by crafters and dancers on the powwow circuit. They don¢t have a recent article just on Straight Dance, but many photos crop up, as for example, the cover of the May/June 2005 issue (vol. 35, #3), or a photo of historical straight dancers, on page 23 of the September/October 2003 issue (vol. 33, #5). The magazine will keep a reader current on what¢s happening in the powwow circuit, and its craft instructions are excellent. The straight dance page on They have a description of straight dance written by Native Americans from the powwow circuit, a forum for questions, and host a massive gallery of current photos and videos of straight dancers. The Gathering of Nations Powwow, in Albuquerque, NM, is an enormous powwow, emphasizing contests. What happens there pretty much is the current style, and they also maintain massive photo galleries.