Ready with the goadPublished 9:39pm Monday, August 20, 2012
It was a grand event celebrating a grand tradition, and indications are that the only problems encountered during the 24th annual Nansemond Indian Powwow were those the Native American hosts could not control — like the rain that threatened on Saturday and finally dampened the fun on Sunday.
Chief Barry Bass said on Saturday that turnout had been good for the event, which showcases the history and culture of the area’s first people. Those who attended got to see Native American dances, hear the drums and taste the foods that are associated with that culture.
Even more important this year was the chance visitors had to examine a group of exhibits related to the tribe’s shared dream, Mattanock Town, the authentic Indian village with a museum, displays and attractions the Nansemond Indians hope to build on ancient tribal land the city has promised to donate for that purpose.
The Nansemond tribe gave its name to the river that bisects Suffolk today and to the county from which the city was born. Its history and customs are woven into the very fabric of Suffolk, and its people are the ancestors of many of those who call the city home today, whether they claim — or even know of — their Native American blood or not.
The popularity of the tribe’s powwow attests to the widespread interest people have in the Nansemond Indians and signals the broad appeal Mattanock Town would have for tourists coming to the area.
It’s time for this dream to start to take shape, but that cannot happen until the city’s administration moves ahead with the paperwork that would transfer the deed for the property to the Nansemond tribe. It’s time for Suffolk to stop stalling on this project. If the city administration needs to be encouraged into action, City Council should be ready with the goad.