Sunday, May 19, 2013

Eastern Shore Powwow at Historic Reservation

This upcoming weekend, the small town of Eastville (population 305) in Northampton County, Virginia, will be humming.  The Historic Bicentennial Homecoming Powwow, "Coming Full Circle," marks the 200th anniversary of the dissolution of the Gingaskin Reservation in Northampton County.  The former reservation is now Indiantown Park, where the grounds will be filled with drummers, dancers in colorful regalia, vendors, and visitors, May 25 and 26.
  Powwows are sacred ceremonies to Native Americans - American Indians.  From the ritual Grand Entry to the specialized dances, every element is imbued with tradition and meaning.  Accohannock Tribal Historian Michael (Fierce Arrow) Hinman says the sacred circles are set up several days in advance of the ceremonies, and the event follows prescribed practices.  A simple fallen feather can stop the dancing until a tribal elder removes it.  "Something a lot of people don't understand is, when they are dancing, they are in prayer," says Accohannock Tribal Chief Rudy (Laughing Otter) Hall.  Hall says that the Veterans Dance, along with the Grand Entry, are the most important events of the powwow.  "We count ourselves as the first people here, and we are people who protect our country and land - we honor them," said Hall.  Hinman also said that this powwow will have a special significance because it falls on Memorial Day weekend, and "Indians honor warriors."
   The historic reservation was not the only reason Eastville was selected to host the powwow.  A unique relationship has formed among the tribal leaders, the Town of Eastville, and Northampton County, that made Eastville a natural fit.  The county courthouse records in Eastville are the oldest continuous courthouse records in the United States, dating from 1632.  Begun by European settlers, the records contain accounts of interactions with indigenous people of the era.  This information, in turn, has been used by descendants to trace family lineage and verify affiliation with the Accohannock tribe.
One winning Powerball lottery ticket was sold for last night's drawing.  The total jackpot was $590.5 million, and the winning ticket was sold by a Publix Supermarket in Zephyrhills, Florida.
   And, in looking at the photo of Gary Stevens and Winning Colors from the Kentucky Derby 25 years ago, I had to look up more information on the filly who was only the third female in history to beat the boys at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.  Winning Colors was born 14 February 1985, and passed away on 17 February 2003; she was euthanized due to inoperable colic.  The big grey girl won handily in her two and three-year-old seasons, but was not the winner she could have been at age four, so she was retired to the farm.  She had ten foals, but none of them equaled her in strength, stamina, or the will to win.  During her racing days, she was a dark grey with a white blaze; before her death, her coat had turned pure white.

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