Make your powwow plans

Published 9:59 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2017

With a 50-50 chance of a pause in the rain coming this weekend, the Nansemond Indian tribe’s powwow may get just the break tribal leaders need to pull off this important annual event.

The powwow is a vital part of the tribe’s efforts to improve the understanding of folks in the community about the history of the area’s first residents, and it’s a big enough deal that leaders have even held the powwow in the rain in the past — and they’ve had spectators in the rain, as well.

But we certainly hope there’s no rain in the offing, as we want to encourage folks who are new to the community — and not just powwow aficionados — to head over to the tribe’s property on Pembroke Lane in Chuckatuck for a great look into the history of the Nansemond Indians.


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“It’s our annual event to show the public that we’re still here and share some of the traditions of our ancestors,” chief emeritus Earl Bass told the Suffolk News-Herald.

In fact, the Nansemond Tribe is working hard — along with a number of volunteers and partnering organizations — to build a replica of the village that served as historical seat of society for the tribe. When the project is complete, visitors will be able to learn about the Nansemond’s history in a museum, and they will be able to explore longhouses, a cultural park and walking trails.

It will be a while before Mattanock Town is a fully realized dream, but visitors to the powwow will see a number of longhouses and a lean-to structure, and they will be able to walk along some of the paths that have been cut into the surrounding woods around the area near Lone Star Lakes Park.

There will be plenty of tribal dancing, lots of good food, an unparalleled view of the Nansemond River and, of course, tribal regalia worthy of magazine-cover photos.

Admission to the event is free — the leaders present it in hopes of enriching the community and honoring their history — but there will be opportunities to purchase souvenirs, traditional arts and crafts and jewelry from a variety of vendors; and there will be lots of tasty treats available, as well.

Saturday hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The powwow grounds are located at the end of Pembroke Lane, which is across Godwin Boulevard from Oakland Elementary School. Call 277-4183 for more information.

This is a signature event in Suffolk. If you’ve been before, you understand what makes it a great place for a repeat visit. If you’ve never been, make this year the one that you go for the first time. It likely won’t be your last.