One of the best things about the powwow is the air of happiness and joy in renewing old friendships and seeing relatives for the first time since last year. Another important feature is the returning visits by the 40 American Indian vendors whose family members also join the dance circle during powwow weekend. People are polite and considerate of each other and our children and elders are given special consideration and attention. That’s the “Indian Way”.
Visitors, guests, and tourists from throughout the United States, Canada, and several foreign countries attend the powwow each year. We extend a special invitation to residents of the Greater Millsboro area to make a special effort to attend this year. Upon arrival in the designated parking lot, you will be shuttled to the powwow grounds where you will experience a very different atmosphere in a wooded area, the personal property of a tribal member.
There are many photographic opportunities at the powwow, considering the colorful regalia that dancers wear and the many different fashions/styles worn by the young and old alike. Always listen to the Master of Ceremony during the powwow. He will let you know when it is not appropriate to take pictures of dancers. Not to worry though, plenty of “Kodak moments” will present themselves during the weekend.
The purpose for our news articles and stories is to educate the public on powwow activities, protocol, etiquette, duties of the head staff, drummers/singers and dancers, audience participation, and to provide information for your comfort, and to make your visit most enjoyable. The many vendors will display authentic Native arts and crafts, jewelry, blankets, clothing, accessories, and food. All these items are available for purchase for you or as gifts for others. Many of the vendors follow the “powwow circuit” from April through Thanksgiving and travel many thousands of miles each year to participate. For many American Indian families, this is their means of subsistence.
Previous writings have indicated some dances you will see at the powwow and now I want to tell you my favorites. Fancy dancing originated in the South during the early 1920’s. When they say “you’ve come along way baby”, they must have been talking about the Fancy Dance regalia. Today’s outfits are the most striking aspect of a powwow with their “U” shaped bustles with matching beadwork and flashy color combinations. The style of dancing is unlimited and the steps used vary with each dancer. Spins, turns, hops, and whatever is the trait of the ever-changing dancers may appear in their dance. First place fancy dancers win lots of money at contest powwows.
Then there is the Shaw Dance, the women’s version of fancy dancing. It is a comparatively new style, having been around only a couple of decades. Shaw dancing originated among the Northern tribes and was quickly adopted by the Southern tribes.
The shawl is the most obvious aspect of the dance. This dance is the same as the men’s fancy, except the women are stepping high and spinning and turning.
So, come on down to “Nanticoke Town” on September 10th and 11th and join us in our two-day powwow celebration. No alcohol and no pets allowed on the grounds. Bring your lawn chairs and your friends. Highway signs on Route 24 (John J. Williams Highway) between Route 1 in Rehoboth Beach and Route 113 in Millsboro will guide you to the parking area/powwow site where trams will transport you to the powwow grounds. See you there! For further information check nanticokeindians.org.
Photos ©2016 HOY en Delaware