Celebrating family and traditions

Published 8:12 pm Saturday, August 18, 2012

This weekend descendants of the Nansemond Indian Tribe have gathered in Chuckatuck to celebrate their culture and history. Members of the tribe have come from around the country to partake in the celebration. Other tribes are attending, as well.

I wish more families had such a colorful, fun way to get together. Many families hold reunions on a regular basis, but most don’t get spectators at their events.

My family travels from four different states every August to the beach in South Carolina. We eat a lot, catch up on life in general and soak up some sun (while wearing lots of sunblock.)

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There is not typically dancing to drums like at a powwow or dressing in the garb of our ancestors, but I wish I knew more about my ancestors and their traditions. A lot has been lost over the years to the American melting pot. I think it is important for everyone to celebrate their families and culture.

We definitely reminisce on times past and loved ones who are no longer with us. One thing that helps us to savor the memories is pictures.

Every year the “cousins,” my generation, are gathered together to take a group picture. Sometimes the “adults” even get into the act. It has been a couple of years since we have all been at the beach on the same day, but it is crazy to look through the photos from the first years we took that picture until now. Kids are turning into adults before our eyes. I say “our,” because I am the oldest of my generation by half a dozen years. The first beach picture had me holding the youngest of my cousins at the time, and he is now entering his senior year of high school. Time sure does fly.

Other “tribes” have joined in our yearly reunions. Roommates, family friends and spouses have become part of our tradition. My husband joined the group a few years ago when we were just engaged, and I am sure our family will grow even larger as my cousins grow up and have families of their own.

If you are interested in learning about the American Indian way of life, traditional crafts and food, then please take some time today to check out the Nansemond powwow.

The annual event, held by the tribe to honor its heritage and display its traditions, continues today at Lone Star Lakes Lodge, which is located at the end of Pembroke Lane, which runs off Godwin Boulevard directly across from Oakland Elementary School.

The free event is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Grand entry of the dancers is at 1 p.m.