Guide to the Denver March Powwow

Here is your first-timer guide to the Denver March Powwow, the largest celebration in the city dedicated to celebrating Native culture.

Powwow dancer
Photo courtesy of Denver’s March Powwow.

Denver’s March Powwow isn’t just an annual event; it’s a testament to the power of reclaiming narratives, where everyone, regardless of background, is invited to be part of the story. As drums resound and dancers whirl March 15–17, it’s a collective retelling of history, a celebration of resilience, and a reminder that the threads of Native American heritage are intricately woven into the fabric of Denver. While the ceremony offers Indigenous people a place to celebrate and reconnect with their roots, it also provides an opportunity for those outside the tribe to gain a deeper appreciation for Native culture. So, we spoke with Larissa No Braid, the Powwow coordinator, and Grace Gillette, Powwow’s executive director for the past 34 years, to get their recommendations on how first-timers can make the most of Denver’s largest springtime celebration. “We believe if you come once, you will come again and again, and bring even more people each time,” says No Braid.

Can’t Miss This

There are five sessions of dancing and drumming performances each day. Gillette says, “You can come for one or come for all, but don’t miss the grand entry when the dancers enter the arena. The pageantry is spectacular. The drums and dancers form what is called the Living Hoop as everyone moves in a circle. The performers have an excitement that the audience feeds off of.” Between performances, there are over 100 vendor booths to explore. Artisans are hand-crafting beaded garments, weaving quilts, and stringing jewelry right before your eyes. Award-winning storytellers and Native authors also read from their novels and share tales from their favorite folklore. There is only one food vendor at the Powwow, and it is reserved for the renowned frybread. “The line is long but extremely worth it,” says No Braid. Lastly, during some of the dances, everyone is encouraged to join in. “You don’t have to know any steps, you just need to feel the rhythm,” explains Gillette. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone, including non-Natives, to be part of the ceremony.”

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