Chowanokes set workshop
Published 7:03 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2015
The Chowanoke Indian Tribe will hold a history session later this month for local folks to learn more about the tribe and pick up a native skill.
“What we’re trying to do is educate the citizens in the area, in addition to teaching people about history, so they will know a little more about what happened,” said Duvonya Chavis, a member of the tribe. “We’re trying to revive some of the crafts and the art that we’ve enjoyed in the past.”
The tribe’s historic land runs from the Blackwater River to present-day Edenton and at one time had 19 villages.
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“Those same villages pretty much exist today, but of course with different names,” Chavis said. “We had a very structured society. We were a very sedentary people. We did not move around from place to place. We established villages.”
The tribe had one of the first reservations granted in the United States and the first Indian school in North Carolina. Some descendants have reclaimed a portion of that original reservation, which was granted in 1677, Chavis said. The acquisition was done in order for the tribe to have a cultural center and to be able to have powwows on the original land, she said.
“Being able to have a land base to your original reservation land is very important to us as American Indians,” Chavis said. About 600 tribal members and more descendants who are not members live in the area, she added.
On Sept. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the tribe will have a basket weaving workshop at Merchant’s Millpond State Park, 176 Millpond Road, Gatesville. A history session will also be presented during the event.
The class size is limited to 10, so folks who plan to participate should pre-register at www.rcnaa.org. Registration is free.
“Our classes are geared to be small, so we can have one-on-one group interaction,” Chavis said. “They can have the hands-on attention from the person that’s actually teaching.”
It’s generally a good idea for only those 15 and up to register for basket wearing because “It’s more of a tedious art,” Chavis said.
Visit the website at www.rcnaa.org for more information on the tribe and the upcoming events.