Powwow coming Aug. 21-22

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2005

Indians from as far away as South Dakota will descend upon the city this month to help the Nansemond Indian tribe celebrate its heritage.

The Nansemond tribe will be holding its 18th 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.

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

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The powwow often draws Indians in the military stationed in Hampton Roads, she added.

&uot;Last year, we had 7,000 or 8,000 people come through here – and that was with no advertising,&uot; McCready said. &uot;We are promoting it more this year and are hoping to draw more people.&uot;

Besides dances, visitors will get a taste of traditional Indian foods, crafts, jewelry and the like, McCready said.

&uot;The most important thing we want people to learn is how beautiful the Native American culture is,&uot; said McCready. &uot;We have a lot to offer people as far as education.

&uot;We are very proud of out heritage and looking forward to the opportunity to share it.&uot;

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

The proposal, on the table for more nearly four years, has been stymied while city and tribal officials debate the project. City Manager R. Steven Herbert said the city is waiting to see the tribe’s business plan; tribal officials say they are in the final stages of completing that plan.

Both McCready and Herbert have indicated recently they would like to see discussions renewed on the project – which the tribe had initially hoped to complete by 2007 – in coming weeks.

Although the tribe has received no official notification, it is particularly concerned by rumors that the city may stop renting Lone Star Lodge after Dec. 31, McCready said.

&uot;We have questions about the future use of the site for powwows,&uot; she said. &uot;We feel like the city has ignored us.&uot;

Herbert, during a recent interview, indicated the city is eventually looking at closing the lodge, in concert with the city’s future plan to build a marina on the property.

Construction on a boat ramp is now under way, with plans to open in spring 2006, said Dennis Craff, the city’s communications director.

But, Craff said, he doesn’t believe the future of the Nansemonds hosting powwows at Lone Star is in jeopardy.

&uot;I’ve had no information to the contrary,&uot; he said.

Powwow admission is free. The park is located at the end of Pembroke Lane in Chuckatuck.