East Coast Tribes Celebrate Native Culture as Pow Wow Season Winds Down

Vincent Schilling/Woman holds Eagle steady at the annual Nottoway Pow Wow in Virginia.

Vincent Schilling

East Coast Tribes Celebrate Native Culture as Pow Wow Season Winds Down.

As pow wow season begins to wind down, ICTMN is reporting on three events held by the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, Chickahominy Tribe and the Meherrin Tribal Nation.

According to Chief Lynette Allston of the Nottoway tribe, the important takeaway from her pow wow, which happens annually at the end of September in Surry County, Virginia, is ‘just being together’ to celebrate Native culture.

“It is a wonderful time for Native people to get together to have, camaraderie, fellowship and friendship,” Allston said. “But it goes beyond just Native, it goes to everyone and that way people learn about each other.”

Allston also said that a group of soldiers came to the pow wow from Fort Lee to create another opportunity for its community to learn about history.

“Having a pow wow really turns into an educational event, a cultural event, a ceremonial event and just good time to be together,” she said.

At the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia pow wow, the master of ceremonies was John Blackfeather Jeffries (Occaneechi Saponi), the head dancers were Debora Moore (Pamunkey) and Louis Campbell (Lumbee) and the drum groups were Yough-Ta-Nund and Na-Ma-Wo-Chi.

The 62nd Annual Chickahominy Pow Wow, which took place September 28th and 29th in Providence Forge, Virginia, focused on Eastern Woodlands Indian culture.

During the pow wow, visitors took in a wide range of native dances styles including the Chicken Dance, Hoop dancing, Grass dancing, as well as men’s and women’s traditional, Jingle Dress and Fancy Shawl.

Also in attendance at the Chickahominy pow wow was Chief Stephen Adkins, noted MC Keith Colston (Tuscarora/Lumbee) the VEVITA Honor Color Guard from Washington, D.C., and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.

At the Chickahominy pow wow, the head dancers were Chris Fortune, (Rappahannock) and Rebecca Balog, (Oglala Sioux/Mohawk) and the host drum group was Yough-Ta-Nund from Richmond, Virginia.

The Meherrin celebrated their 25th Annual Pow Wow last weekend in Ahoskie, North Carolina.

According to Chief Wayne Brown of the Meherrin tribe, his pow wow has a strong focus on Iroquoian tradition and so the dances were slightly different than what you might see in other tribes with a Powhatan influence.

“Most of the natives from this area were not Iroquoian,” said Brown. “The only Iroquoian nations down here were the Nottoway, the Meherrin, and the Tuscarora, so our dances are a little different.”

The Meherrin tribe, which is Iroquoian, danced the Smoke Dance and the Duck Dance both styles that are celebrated by the Iroquois Nation.