Native American gathering circle meaning

Welcome to the visitor from the City of Bowmanville Ontario Canada

To one of the older websites

Looking for information about native American gathering circle meaning?

Because you are in another country (Canada) I am not sure if you understood our reason for Paw-Paus and or why we changed the name?


What is an American native Paw paus?

We have been to powwows in and around your country so explaining a powwow is not necessary?

A Paw Paus is what my people have called our gatherings for at least as far back as any of my teachers could recall their ancestors teach about and I am now 72 years young, or old depending who you are asking?

So as you can see a very long time, the word goes something like this.

Soon after first contact some of our invaders stumbled on one of our past gatherings and enjoyed what they were seeing.

Sachem speaks Powwow or Paw – paus

As far as what is this gathering

I can and will only talk about this very spiritual event from what I have been taught from the 40’s 50’s and 60’s and allowed to talk about!

As told to me by the traditional elders of our New England people, this gathering was held after each of our four season Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer or in their words South, West, North and East.

Fall (south) is the time of year for meetings to get ready to head in to the middle of the land gathering food and supplies and make ready to last out the colder weather that is coming, at the end of this time (fall) there would be a gathering of the people and prayers, dancing and drum for the Creators protection while on our journeys or a mini gathering. The New England people did not carry homes around the land instead they would build homes (round and long houses) in each of the seasons, places they stayed in for that season. In the winter time (west) the people split up into family groups (clans and headed west) because of the food shortages at this winter time. In this winter it would be a time of hardship keeping warm and finding food and firewood so at the end of this winter these clans would hold a gathering to share food, clothing, wood and storytelling. Spring (North) would be the time to start back toward their main homes at the great river, for planting and repairing homes and fishing holes.

At this time I will input the fact that these homes (except for the sachems family) is on a first come first serve bases so if the last owner shows up both families work together an build one or the other a new home!

Summer (east) is the time for a gathering of all the people this gathering ( Paw-paus) would be a great Spiritual event and everyone would bring food and work together repairing and rebuilding the prayer circle of course with a great opening in the East to allow room for Creator and all of the ancestors to enter.

While the people are fellowshipping, telling their story of the past season and learning of members past while gone west and new members arriving while gone and so on the fire keeper and helpers would clean and clear the circle and get the fire ready for the time Creator comes to visit with the people.

The Sachem, with a warrior on each side to help and tend to any needs while dancing around this circle, these warriors would carry the Sachems gifts and staff if necessary to Creator and would be at the head of a line so as to pray to have a friendly gathering before entering the circle.

Sachem would at this time ask the people to please place any bad feelings, gossip, and bad thoughts at the east door, if they wanted them back after the paw-paus just let Creator know otherwise Creator will take them into his fire to burn forever and the people can be cleansed enough to enjoy dancing and drumming with Creator and the ancestors.

Each family (clan) had their own prayer staff with prayer bags and medicine pouches from past family members and animal family members, this staff would usually be carried into the circle through the east by the family’s Clan Mother. Next would be the elder women then elder men, younger women and children, last but by no means least would be all of the warriors keeping a close eye out for any unwanted guests. As you may now start to see this gathering is a little different from a modern day powwow that you may have gone to, this would be because first, remember we are of the matriarch society, but most of all I am writing about a Paw-Paus not a powwow!

They had no need for fancy ropes or railings around this circle each member would place their skins or fur blankets around and all knew that the correct way into Creators church was through the East, even our animal friends (always welcome into our church) seem to know that they are welcome to come dance and fellowship with the people, the ancestors and Creator, if they made a mistake someone, usually the fire keepers helper, would just pick it up and carry on with the gathering. No vendors nothing to sell every family would bring something for meals and the young women would cook, every family would also bring things for trade and give away.

Creator would come into the circle and take over the fire usually for about week.

I have broken no code or promise made to my elders by not going into our spirituality aspects during this gathering so traditional people please understand that we need to at least get something out on the net so non-natives can see that we still do our church.


Native Americans gather to celebrate traditions

By Ryan Broussard


November 24, 2013

Native American traditions on display at ‘powwow

Welcome to some of my teachings from a visitor from GONZALES Baton Rouge, LA

Yes it is somewhat unusual to see a drum or two in the middle of a circle in today’s world.

As for is it a problem for elder traditional natives?

I hope not.

You see even though I am not familiar with tribes around New Orleans although I have been there to taste some really fine food, I am real pleased to see tradition at its best.

In my part of the country, the north east, long before first contact and the word powwow as you know it, we celebrated a ceremony known as a Paw-paus.

As explained in some of our posting, our sacred fire was over in the west of the circle for sacred reasons and the drums

(the heartbeat of mother earth and our tribe)

was always in the circle as we danced around them with Kiehtan our Creator.

GONZALES — As dancers of all ages filed into a tribal circle Saturday, U.S. Army veteran Shaun Murphy joined the familiar ritual, swaying to the Native American rhythms hammered out by drummers in the circle’s center.

Of course this gathering in indoors so one would not expect to see a fire in that circle however, it could very well be outdoors in the west?

Keeper of the Fire After Grand Entry

Assuming that the fire is now started and Grand Entry, Flag song, Veterans honor and so forth are now going on.

Fire Keeper, not to be confused with the Keeper of the Circle unless one person is assigned to do both, now becomes an invisible, for lack of an English word, fire feeder, to me the most important job or job of joy during the gathering, sitting with Kiehtan?

If everything from my last posting is completed correctly and we are talking Paw paus and some earlier powwows, your circle is now ready for the Firekeeper prayers for a blessing from Kiehtan and a visit.

Firekeeper/Keeper of the Circle

Kiehtan has come to visit with the people so the Firekeeper and assistants must keep the fire going for the length of the Paw-paus or powwow.

The first thing we must understand before going any further would be that only Creator can bless anyone or anything, I cannot emphasize this enough times!

Only Creator (Kiehtan) can bless.

Blessings come down to Mother Earth, never up from her or any creations!

If the smudging of the circle is done correctly you should feel a peace of mind and a need to fellowship while in your circle.

Remember the bucket of shame at the east from the last posting?

You were asked, if you wanted, to put all bad thoughts into this bucket and Kiehtan removed them so now stand by for your blessing, if you are a believer?

My three favorite words are “Before first contact.”

Paw-paus fire, as stated in earlier postings is at the west out on the grounds someplace convenient so now smudging can commence without disturbing dancers and attendants.

For many years after this first contact the fire was also in the west because as you may know if you have been to these newer age gatherings, the East is clogged up for far too long while the head veteran is lining up the flags and veterans, dancers are making ready to enter and many others are standing around in the way waiting for their time to be smudged.

This cannot look good to outsider visitors?

Shechaim Ohjieshan

Firekeeper/Keeper of the Circle

Welcome to my visitor from Pembroke Canada

To my website and blog looking for fire keepers and smudging.

Smudging the correct way.



Smudging has just been covered the other day,

Smudging before entering the circle September 28, 2013

Fire Keeper has not.

Fire Keeper is the reason why I have been holding onto this for a little while and praying about it before answering.

I do that a lot.

We must once again understand that my teachers were from around New York, New England and parts south. While it is true that my father Shechaim (Sachems) Zeak and my grandfather Shechaim (Sachems) Tallfox had many visitor to our meetings, I have no knowledge of the Canadian natives Fire Keepers, never has the opportunity to witness?

Also, since I am writing on a blog being read by people from all over Indian country and the world, I feel that it is necessary to point out that fact .

I have also been to thousands of gatherings around Indian country and have noticed that most gatherings do not have a fire, some have a fire almost as an afterthought and a few have a fire along the lines of our Paw-paus gatherings.

It is this the last that I chose to write about.

My people take a fire in or around a circle very personal.

You see, we believe that a correctly placed fire at the correct time is a symbol that Kiehtan (Creator) has agreed to a visit with our gathering.

The original powwows before first contact (Paw-paus) the fire was always off to the west side away from distractions with room to do our smudging/prayers, in those days smudging was with Kinnick – Kinnick Herbs, this is our tobacco.

Our powwows, not counting today’s intertribal, the fire is placed into the center of our circle.

Long before any gathering begins the cleaning and clearing must be done.

After the circle is cleaned and cleared correctly it is time to smudge.

Taking the remains of the last fire and mixing it with Kinnick, Kinnick we start the spirit smudging, light the fire in the center of the circle.

light the mix from the fire in the circle, extremely important, let the fire in the circle go out on its own.

Smudge starting at the east at the fire, smudge around and back to the east, take two steps toward the east opening and smudge around the fire once again back to the east each time getting closer to the east opening and out through your opening.

This way all spirits good and bad will be forced out the opening of your circle.

Good spirits will return with Kiehtan.

Your circle is now ready for the Firekeeper prayers for a blessing from Kiehtan and a visit.

After the fire is started (another posting) the Firekeeper and assistants must keep the fire going for the length of the Paw-paus or powwow.


Sachem ( She-Chaim) is home

We are back to, and so glad to be in Florida.

Remember that the Indiana Robbers at the Drury Inn N Shadeland ave Indianapolis took our computers and everything else worth anything 10 minutes after arrival at that so called safe hotel?


We now have new computer, only they have windows-8 software 😦


As state in the About Page.

Why do we keep talking about this word Gathering?

The word gathering means different things to different tribes and also those tribes now calling themselves a nation?

When we from the New England/New York 🙂 area say gathering you will have to read through that website or posting to see if it is referring to our monthly meetings, a Paw-paus, a powwow or maybe a special ceremony like naming, birth, death, crossing,  adoption and so on.

A gathering is also a call to the members of whatever group about to get a start to one of these meetings or ceremonies to elect chiefs and clan mothers to set rules to the meeting or ceremony in order to help it go as smooth as possible, Always remember Creator is first.

Sachems (Shechaim) Travels

Please be advised, this is only a small list of our travels around Indian country.

So if your state, gathering or powwow is not on the page I apologize however, we only had just so much room.

Welcome to the visitors from

The City  Boston  Massachusetts


The City Johnstown New York

To my travels page of the website Aquai/Aquine

Yes we have been to powwows and gatherings around both areas.

If you are interested in if or when we were around your area please ask?

Native American Traditional Feather dance.

Again thank-you for this question, I thought that I posted this before however, I guess not?
Traditional Eastern Native American dance?
This blog is only about an Eastern Woodland Native Traditional Matriarch tribal gathering, taught to me by elders now ancestors.
The Eastern Woodland American Native powwow (gathering) came from the ancient Traditional Paw-paus as explained in earlier blogs.
This gathering started at sun up and ended at sun down, dancing could however go on for the week, sometimes longer.
The first dance that should be discussed is one that has gotten out of hand in many gathering, The Feather dance.
When a feather from any bird of prey drops to Mother Earth, that feather now belongs to our Mother!
Also if this feather drops at a gathering, from a dancers Regalia or any other reason, we must do the following.
Every warrior at this gathering must go to this feather, the head veteran and four of his/her warriors control this sacred ceremony while the rest direct all dancers including themselves around and away from the ceremony!
The traditional MC and drum, keep things moving as if nothing happened, this is very important to remember!
If it drops where there is no dancing every warrior at the gathering circles with their backs to the feather.
The first person protecting the feather and if possible the person that lost the feather dance in one spot at the head veterans discretion or until a veteran shows up, unless or until called to the feather.
If this ceremony becomes a show, the gathering is polluted and must be canceled!
No one except people involved with the ceremony are allowed to see this very sacred ceremony, NO RECORDING, EVER.
The reason for the above is simple, the bird of prey is our brother/sister and a helper/protector, hence we protect their covering (feather).
If one of your veterans falls do you make this into a spectacle?
One would hope not.

Florida powwow

Howard Oxendine ( a Cherokee)and the Sumter native American family tribe based in Bushnell Florida.
September 28-30, 2012
1st Annual Inter-Tribal Native American Holiday PowWow
Dade Battlefield – Historic State Park -7200 CR 603- Bushnell, FL

Howard is a Christian Indian and is full of energy and friendship, should be an interesting and enjoyable weekend for anyone in or around the area.
Although I do not know him, I like what he does and is doing for his people, as seen in my daily paper 09/20/2012 Daily Commercial.
I also do not understand why everyone claiming native heritage feel the need to be a princess or a chief?
This is not a necessary surname.
Being true to your ancestors, culture, ceremonies and of course Creator should always be enough, AHO?