Powwow opens

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 18, 2002

Dakota Storm Warren, 9, isn’t real familiar with his Mohawk Indian heritage.

But he got a taste of his roots on Saturday when his family joined the thousands who braved the heat to attend the Nansemond Indian Tribe’s 15th annual Powwow at Lone Star Lodge near Chuckatuck. The event continues from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today.

&uot;I’m learning about my heritage, what I’m all about,&uot; said the Suffolk youngster. &uot;It’s pretty cool.&uot;

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The powwow is being held on the banks of the Nansemond River, near where historians have determined that one of the tribe’s four villages was located more than 400 years ago.

The Nansemonds are hopeful the site will play an equally pivotal role in the tribe’s future. The tribe has asked the city for part of the property to build Mattantock Town, an authentic Indian village. City and tribal leaders, as well as citizens, have recently been appointed to a task force to further study the tribe’s proposal.

Native Americans and visitors powwow were treated to seeing the dancers from tribes along the East Coast perform all sorts of Native American dances, songs and drumming. Vendors were selling an array of American Indian crafts, including knives, jewelry and dream-catchers.

Clutching a long blue feather, Elyssa Sacco-Bene, 2- 1/2, gazed out at buckskin-clad tribesmen dancing around the center ring.

&uot;This is exciting,&uot; said her mother, Christine Sacco-Bene. &uot;Although I’ve been wanting to come out for years, this is the first powwow we’ve made it to.&uot;

Sacco-Bene and others attending the festival believe the tribe’s proposal to build Mattantock Town is a good idea.

&uot;It would be a great tourist attraction,&uot; said Beth Greene of Chuckatuck, who took her children, Dylan and Lindsey, to the powwow.

&uot;We love all the dancing and costumes.

&uot;Look at this,&uot; she continued, gesturing around the park. &uot;It’s like a museum out here right now. It’s very educational and gives you a sense of respect for diversity.&uot;

Tribal leaders are hopeful everyone will leave the powwow with renewed respect and appreciation for different cultures, said Chief Barry Bass.

&uot;This is a chance for us to share our heritage with the community and a way for us to preserve our history,&uot; he said,

Bass, who assumed leadership of the tribe in 1996 after the death of the late Chief Earl L. Bass, believes his grandfather would be proud to the tribe’s proposal to build Mattantock Town.

&uot;I know he’s here in spirit … and I know he would have supported the idea,&uot; Bass said. &uot;He wanted to see us make something for ourselves…that would preserve our tribal culture. That’s what we are working to accomplish.&uot;