Tribes prepare for Powwow

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Indians from as far away as South Dakota will be coming to Suffolk this month to help the Nansemond Indian tribe celebrate its heritage.

The Nansemond tribe will be holding its 17th annual powwow Aug. 21-22 at Lone Star Lakes Park, near its tribal burial grounds in Chuckatuck. At least 15 different tribes from across the nation will be represented during the event, said Sandy McCready, the tribe’s secretary.

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Thousands from across Hampton Roads and beyond are expected to descend upon Chuckatuck for the two-day festival, where the Nansemonds and their fellow tribesmen will perform traditional dances in full regalia.

The powwow often draws Indians in the military that are stationed in Hampton Roads. &uot;They will come take part in our powwows because they are not home to take part in that tradition,&uot; she added.

Besides dances, visitors will get a taste of traditional Indian foods, crafts, jewelry and the like. For the first time, the Nansemonds will be sponsoring its own fry bread booth, something outside vendors have traditionally handled.

&uot;The most important thing we want people to leave with is the awareness that there are native Americans in Virginia,&uot; McCready said. &uot;We’re still here and we are very proud of our heritage.&uot;

The powwow is an opportunity for citizens to learn more about the tribe’s proposed Mattanock Town project, its $5 million tribal museum and replica of an Indian village proposed for Lone Star Lakes.

The proposal, on the table for more than two years, has been stymied while city and tribal officials debate the best place for the project. The tribe’s refusal to share its business plan has also been a factor.

After no contact for more than a year, officials from the tribe and the city are once again meeting to move the project forward.

&uot;If people come to the powwow and support us, we would like them to let their city council representative know how they feel,&uot; McCready said.

Admission to the powwow is free. Lone Star Lakes Park is located at the end of Pembroke Lane in Chuckatuck.