Nanticoke Pow Wow’s opening day a cultural crowd pleaser

MILLSBORO — Proud Native American Michael Morgan is a 22-year-old member of Frederica Volunteer Fire Company Station 49.

His family ties are Lakota, and as a 10-year participant in the Nanticoke Indian Pow Wow, he prays for fellow responders, among others.

“It is very important to me,” said Ms. Morgan, a participant in Saturday’s Grand Entry spectacle at the 42nd Annual Nanticoke Pow Wow. “I dance men traditional. I dance for the Creator. And I pray for men and women … first responders.”

Upward of 40 tribes from across America have congregated at the Nanticoke Pow Wow grounds near Millsboro this weekend for two days of Native American culture, heritage, customs, song and dance, rituals and food.

Mr. Morgan’s aunt and uncle manned a booth selling a popular Native American food – fry bread – at the Pow Wow on Saturday.

Blessed with beautiful weather Saturday with a favorable forecast for Sunday, thousands of spectators are expected to experience this year’s Pow Wow, which follows a complete 2018 weather washout – the only time in Nanticoke Pow Wow history the entire event has been totally cancelled.

“The excitement is in the air for many, many reasons: to celebrate our culture, to allow us to be visibly seen and felt by all of you, to understand how fortunate are, and how blessed we are that the Creator gives us this beautiful day, knowing what we went through last year,” said Keith Colston in addressing the large audience gathered for the Grand Entry.

“Yes, we are a people who are very appreciative,” said Mr. Colston, whose North Carolina tribal affiliations are Tuscarora-Lumbee.

Playing the drum.

“We are a thankful people that understand that we do nothing on our own, because again of our Creator that allows us to have what we have. For this reason, it is why we get out here and dance and sing the way that we do.
“These are reasons … respect and honor are the two words that exemplify why we do all that we do.”

Millsboro resident Dottie LeCates was on hand Saturday to reunite with her good friend, Lakota Native American Barbara MorningStar from Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
“I was born and reared in Sussex County, and the Pow Wow is an annual event that I wouldn’t miss for anything,” Ms. LeCates said.

“It is the people and the dancing, because it’s all symbolic and it is very meaningful to not only the Nanticoke culture but to our whole environment.
“We bless the trees. We bless the eagle. We dance and we celebrate. That is well worth coming out once a year to be part of it.”
“I don’t come every year. I have been here before. I come in when I can,” said Ms. MorningStar, who noted her friendship with Ms. LeCates. “She is a dear friend.

“We search high and low for those pure hearts and sometimes they are right here in your neighborhood.”
Leolga Wright delivered the invocation.
“Lord, yesterday we stood here many of us in the rain. But we were still able to come back today, with your blessing, with this beautiful sunshine that we have, with this beautiful crowd that we have here today. Lord, we just are in awe,” said Ms. Wright.

“And Lord, above all, we ask that you would be with those that are in our audience. And we pray Lord that when they leave here today, they will have a better understanding of our culture.”
Ms. LeCates plans are to return Sunday for the 10 a.m. worship service.

“Church! Absolutely, I wouldn’t miss it,” said Ms. LeCates. “They will dance in the circle; everybody holding hands. We are one in the spirit. We are one in the Lord.”
Gates to the Pow Wow grounds off John J. Williams Highway on Sunday open at 9:30 a.m. The Grand Entry is at 1 p.m. and the 2019 Pow Wow concludes at 5 p.m.

Pow Wow admission is $5 per person. Children under 12 are admitted free.
Participating tribes are manning vendor booths with authentic Native American arts and crafts.
In addition to showcasing culture and heritage, the Pow Wow doubles as a fundraiser supporting the Nanticoke Indian Museum and its tribal center.

Mr. Colston, speaking on behalf of all participating tribes, hopes spectators in attendance find the Pow Wow entertaining and educational.
“We want you to be able to understand this. We want you to enjoy, but more than anything to be educated while you are here,” Mr. Colston said.

“We know that with our dancers and our singers, that every time they put forth their voices, every time that they take a step in the arena it is something that they are keeping alive and something that they have been given by others.”

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