"an Indian powwow"
Tall Bear, Medicine Man
Public DomainTall Bear, Medicine Man - Credit: The W. E. Hook Wholesale View Co.Strong Eagle, Spokane shaman (148 * 240)
A Navaho shaman
Public DomainA Navaho shaman - Credit: John K. Hillers

In Native American usage, a powwow was a priest, shaman or healer. The word translates as “he who dreams,” reflecting the powwow’s role as a contact with the spirit realm. Entering into a trance, he (and sometimes she) was afforded visionary glimpses of spirit animals preying on the diseased and was thereby able to provide them with fitting charms and cures. To New England settlers, powwows were diabolical personages. The first recorded English use of the word comes from Edward Winslow’s Good Newes from New England (1624), whose assertion that “The office and dutie of the Powah is to be exercised principally in calling vpon the Deuill” typifies Puritan thought.