Native Americans are known for their deep tradition of maintaining the customs of their culture. For the Coharie Indian Tribe that tradition will become evident when they celebrate their 43rd Annual Pow-Wow this weekend. The Coharie Pow-Wow will begin at 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7 and continue through Saturday, Sept. 8.
The purpose of a Pow-Wow is a tradition. According to Coharie Pow-Wow committee member Charlene Jacobs it is a a time when old customs and ways are brought to the forefront.
“More than anything else, Pow-Wow time is a coming home time, a gathering together of relatives, tribal friends and friends from other tribes,” attested Jacobs.
“During the Pow-Wow, different traditional dances and ceremonies are held. Deceased relatives and friends are honored by feast, songs and dances. A Pow-Wow is songs, dances, bright colors, feasting, drums, bells, fry bread, corn soup, bead-work and much more. Overall the Pow-Wow is a great circle of warmth generated by friendship, kinship, love and acceptance,” she explained.
Friday night’s session begins at 6 p.m. and will conclude at 1 a.m., Saturday morning. The Pow-Wow will begin with the Grand Entry around 7:25 p.m. During the Grand Entry a prayer, the color guard and chief’s staff will be brought in followed by the dancers with drums and an opening song. It is, Jacobs said, a sacred event.
She shared that along with the customary dances, singing and drums, this year’s Pow-Wow will again feature the motorcycle/classic car ride, as well as two new events — a Dark Water Rising concert and the first annual Cultural Spoken Word event.
“The Coharie People would like to invite everyone to this year’s Cultural Pow-Wow. We also would like to pay honor to veterans and service personnel during our annual event. This year we will again start Saturday morning’s activities with the motorcycle/classic car ride within our native grounds…The Coharie Creek Basin,” noted Jacobs.
The ride is escorted and will take riders through 88 scenic Sampson County miles. Following the ride, there will be an opportunity for participants to show off their wheels regardless of how many they have. The ride registration qualifies riders for the show. All veterans and service personnel that attend will be cordially acknowledged and thanked with a beaded feather in the “Arena” after the Veteran’s Dance.
“We are aware of the sacrifices each one of our veterans and service people have given to protect our freedoms and we want to honor them,” shared Jacobs.
Registration fee is $20 per vehicle and $5 per rider. Registration allows participation in both the show and ride as well as admission into the Cultural Pow-Wow. The first 50 registrants will receive an event T-shirt. Registrations will also include a lunch voucher that will be honored at the Pow-Wow. The following trophies will be presented: Cars-Best GM, Best Mopar, Best Ford, Best Import, Best Custom, Best Interior, Best Engine Motorcycles-Best Bagger, Best Cruiser, Best Sport Bike, Best Custom, Best Engine Overall, Best of Show.
Saturday will feature the first annual Spoken Word event. A $3 donation will provide entry to the event that starts a 10 p.m. Jacobs explained that the event is an effort to highlight the Native American cultural progression among the generations through verbal expressions of art.
“We are hoping to create a platform to highlight the positive impact of our culture through spoken word and song. Our aim is to keep our people culturally and spiritually grounded and focused,” expressed Jacobs.
Members from the Coharie, Lumbee, Haliwa Saponi and Waccamaw Siouan tribes have committed to entertain event-goers for this event.
The other new event on Friday night will be the concert performed by Dark Water Rising (DWR). DWR is an award-winning contemporary Native American group featuring a rock/blues sound. The band is based in Robeson County and are members of the Lumbee Tribe. DWR won the 2010 Native American Music Award for Debut Duo or Group of the Year. In 2011, they gained two nominations in the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Awards, Single of the Year for their song Hooked and Best Folk/Acoustic CD for their debut album Dark Water Rising. The band tours regularly in North Carolina and across the east coast. DWR’s lead vocal, Charly Lowry, was on the American Idol show prior to forming the band. Visit their website at www.darkwaterrising.net or like them on Facebook.
“We are extremely excited about Dark Water Rising performing during our Pow-Wow this year. We feel they will provide music that everyone will enjoy,” cited the Pow-Wow committee member.
Jacobs also shared that a number of vendors will be available with all types of food and other items for sale.
“The kitchen will be open again this year for the first time in several years. We will be selling barbecue and chicken plates and traditional Indian fry bread,” remarked Jacobs, noting that fry bread is similar to a funnel cakes but is made with corn and other traditional ingredients.
A gospel sing is scheduled for Saturday, starting at noon, with a variety of groups sharing their music. There will be a Health Fair in the Tribal Center Auditorium on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many other events are scheduled over the two-day Pow-Wow.
Admission to the Cultural Pow-Wow is free for those birth to age 4 ; 5 to 55 - $6; 56 and up $3 per day. Jacobs explained that all proceeds from the Pow-Wow are used to continue services at the Coharie Tribal Center, and because the center does not receive funding any longer, the funds are desperately needed.
The Pow-Wow will be held on the Coharie Tribal ground on U.S. Hwy. 421, nine miles north of Clinton.
For additional information visit their website: www.coharietribe.org.