A Jingle dress is made from cloth, velvet or leather and adorned with Jingles. Jingles are traditionally made from the lids of snuff cans. The lids are bent and molded into triangular bell shapes. An adult dress can have 400 to 700 Jingles.
The Dance: The steps are very controlled and low to the ground, there is no high kicking or twirling. The dancer may make a zig zag trail to represent the journey of life. The sound of the Jingles jingling is considered a happy sound, a healing sound.
The Ojibwe Legend: A Medicine Mans granddaughter was very ill. During a dream a spirit wearing a Jingle Dress came to him and told him to make a dress for his granddaughter and to have her dance. She had to be carried during the first circle, the second circle she needed a little help, the third circle she walked by herself and the fourth circle she danced.
I attended my first Pow Wow when I was just a little girl, I was intrigued by the colors of the costumes and the Birch Bark Tepee that stood on the shores of Shell Lake. That was in the late 1950's. My second Pow Wow was in Canada, while we were on vacation..we were the only non natives there so we did not stay long. My Father- In- Law said "Let's stay together and walk back to the car quickly..there are no other white people here." This time I thoroughly enjoyed the Pow Wow. The public was invited and welcomed. :)