The community and university gathered on March 25 for the annual powwow held in the main gym.
Vendors set up in the main room of the Jones building to give viewers an opportunity to purchase some handcrafted soaps, crafts and food. Indigenous people from about 10 tribes including Waccamaw, Coharie, Haliwa-Saponi, Sappony and people from North Dakota, South Dakota and Hawaii made appearances at the powwow.
Marvin Richardson, an adjunct professor for American Indian History this semester and a member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe, attended the event.
“We are a very diverse population,” said Richardson. “We don’t all look alike. We don’t all act alike. There are over 600 different tribes across America and Canada. It is important to preserve our kinship, territories and maintain our people.”
The powwow had competitions for singing, drumming and dancing in different categories. The music competitions were split between northern and southern styles.
The northern style is the higher-pitched singing, while southern is lower. Stoney Creek and War Paint were the two northern singing groups present. Southern Suns, Spirit Eagle and Smokey Town were the southern singing representatives.
Community members included head dancers Ethan Oxendine and Jasmine Jacobs, Arena Director Terry White and head judges Chris Conner, Christopher Richardson and Becky Goins for drum, dance and tabulator respectively.
At the powwow, a member of the Lumbee tribe, Reggie Brewer, participated in the Northern Men’s Traditional dance. That particular dance comes from the great plains of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“Dancing is a prayer. And to be able to pray is to heal, and to heal is to dance,” said Brewer.
Brewer works with the Boys and Girls Clubs. There are seven local
clubs associated with schools, and he often visits them to teach a culture program. The event held a raffle for those that paid for tickets at the entrance for a ribbon skirt, made by designer Shannon Ryan Gustafson from Thunder Bay, Ontario, and donated by Sandra Whittemore.
The skirt, was valued at $200. Full descriptions of the event, attendees and prizes are available at www.uncp.edu.