Firebird Festival this Saturday

Published 9:34 pm Monday, March 18, 2019

Families are invited to Mattanock Town this weekend for a celebration of Nansemond Indian culture that will both entertain and educate the young and old.

The Nansemond Firebird Festival will be held on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mattanock Town, 1001 Pembroke Lane. Parking and admission are free.

Visitors will explore the history and culture of the Nansemond Indian Nation through storytelling, crafting, dancing and interactive learning stations.

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These learning stations will open at 11 a.m. for each child to visit with their own “Firebird Festival passport” activity book. They will take a closer look at tribal artifacts, learn to speak Algonquian words and enjoy other interactive lessons while earning stamps for their passports along with fun prizes.

The lessons at each station also correspond with elementary school-level SOL studies.

“All activities are aligned with the Suffolk Standards of Learning so that children within the Suffolk Public Schools system can have authentic experiences that compliment what they are learning in the classroom,” Nansemond Tribal Councilwoman Nikki Bass wrote in an email. “In addition to meeting outreach objectives, several of our learning stations will serve as pilots for future cultural and educational programs for the tribe and surrounding community.”

Visitors will gather in the dance area at noon for the chief’s welcome, an Algonquian prayer and the first dance program. Storytelling and the second dance program will be at 2 p.m., followed by a closing social dance at 4 p.m.

Participants will interact one-on-one with the dancers, join them in a social dancing experience and learn how the tribe’s dances evolved to tell its stories, Bass wrote.

Vendors will sell tribal merchandise, Native American fry bread and Indian tacos and other concessions like hotdogs, chips and drinks.

This spring festival was organized in response to many groups that request outreach activities from the tribe throughout the year, in addition to its annual powwow that will return Aug. 17 and 18, according to Nansemond Tribal Councilwoman Nikki Bass.

“In response to these requests, the Nansemond Firebird Festival will offer a unique, curated experience for local community members, organizations, schools and fellow tribes to learn about the history and culture of Nansemond Indian Nation,” Bass wrote in an email.

Email for more information.