Powwow worthy of attention

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The Nansemond Indian Tribe will hold its 16th powwow this weekend at Lone Star Lakes.

The annual event, which showcases the tribe’s heritage as well as the beauty of Suffolk, is sure to be particularly poignant this year as the tribe is embroiled in a dispute with city officials over its proposal to build Mattanock Town, a replica of a 17th-century Indian Village, on the grounds where the powwow will be held.

The event draws people from all over the country to Suffolk once a year, something Mattanock Town would likely do on a daily basis. As such, it’s vital for Suffolk’s future as a tourist destination that the project move forward.

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Based on history, the Nansemond are not unjustifiably wary in their dealings with government and it is going to be up to the city to earn the tribe’s trust. We can think of no better way to begin to mend the fences than for city council members to spend some time this weekend mixing with the Nansemonds, discovering what they are about, trying to see things from their point of view.

While it may be merely wishful thinking, it would at least be a step in showing the Nansemonds that they are viewed as valued members of our community and that the city has every desire to be fair in its dealings with them.