Native American culture on display at Nanticoke Powwow

Dozens of Native American tribes from across America, including those from as far away as New Mexico, will participate in the two-day Nanticoke Indian Powwow Saturday and Sunday in Millsboro. (Delaware State News file photos)

MILLSBORO — Tribal land in a wooded area several miles east of Millsboro is the staging venue this weekend for a long-running annual fundraiser that showcases Native American heritage and culture.

On Saturday and Sunday, the 42nd Nanticoke Indian Powwow will feature Native American song and dance, customs, rituals and, of course, food.

Dozens of tribes from across America, including those from as far away as New Mexico, will participate in the two-day extravaganza.

“We have around 40 tribes from all across the United States,” said Sterling Street, coordinator for the Nanticoke Indian Museum. “We usually have some Navajo. We have had some Apaches here. Of course, we have a lot of tribes from the East Coast.”

Among the tribes joining Powwow host the Nanticoke Indian tribe include the Shinnecock from New York State, Lumbee and Haliwa from North Carolina and Seminole from Florida.

Guest tribes will be manning vendor booths with authentic Native American arts and crafts.

“And they will also be singing and dancing with us. We have three different drum groups, including our own,” Mr. Street said.

Besides the Nanticoke Indians, drum groups are from Red Blanket (New Jersey) and Stoney Creek (North Carolina).

Powwow admission is $5 per person. Children under 12 are admitted free.

Natosha Norwood Carmine, Nanticoke Indian tribe chief, and chiefs from many other tribes are expected to be on hand.

In addition to providing culture-rich education and entertainment, the Nanticoke Indian Powwow serves as a fundraiser supporting the Nanticoke Indian Museum and its tribal center.

It doubles as a reunion.

“It is also a time when we reunite with family members that have moved away,” said Mr. Street. “It is a time when we reacquaint and meet new people, new brothers and sisters from other tribes. It is also a time when we show our culture and other tribes’ culture to the public.”

Powwow admission is $5 per person. Children under 12 are admitted free.

There is free parking within walking distance of the Powwow grounds. Nanticoke Indian trams will provide spectator shuttle service to and from the Powwow. The handicapped-accessible dropoff area is at Mount Joy Road.

Gates open at 10 a.m. Saturday. Activities and events, which include two dance sessions, run until 7 p.m. The Grand Entry is at noon.

Sunday, gates open at 9:30 a.m., with the worship service at 10 a.m. and Grand Entry at 1 p.m. There is one dance session set for Sunday’s Powwow, which concludes at 5 p.m.

Hungry spectators will have such Native American food options as bison burgers, succotash, Indian fry bread and Indian tacos.

The grounds are located just off Del. 24. The parking lot area has a GPS friendly address: 26800 John J. Williams Highway, Millsboro, DE 19966.

Smoking, drugs and alcohol are prohibited on the Powwow or Nanticoke Indian Association grounds.

With fair weather, previous Powwows typically have drawn upward of 10,000 spectators. Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

Powwow 2018 went down in history as the only time it was a total washout, due to inclement weather.

The grounds are located just off Del. 24. The parking lot area has a GPS friendly address: 26800 John J. Williams Highway, Millsboro, DE 19966.

“Last year was the first year in 41 years we were completely rained out,” said Mr. Street.

With unpredictable Hurricane Dorian a potential menace in the region this weekend, organizers have an eye on the forecast and fingers crossed.

“We are hoping for good weather on Saturday. But it could be that it is not,” said Mr. Street, joking that instead of a “rain dance” they may have to do an “un-rain” dance. “It depends on how much rain we get as to how the grounds are for Saturday. Sunday should be good,” he said.

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