Culture, heritage and pride runs strong among the people of the Coharie Tribe. For the last 48 years, the Annual Cultural Pow Wow has been a way to celebrate and maintain Native American traditions.
The 48th annual Pow Wow celebration is scheduled for Sept. 8-9. This year’s Pow Wow will be host to various other events such as a health fair and the annual Warrior’s Memorial Ride.
The Pow Wow will feature Native American dancing, the crowning of the newly selected Coharie princesses and braves, drumming and food, along with crafts, beautifully-crafted regalia, artwork and gospel singing.
Festivities are set to begin at 5 p.m on Friday at the Coharie Tribal Center, 7531 N US Hwy 421 Clinton. Grand entry will be on Friday at 7:20 p.m. On Saturday, the 7th annual Warriors Memorial Ride registration will begin at 8 a.m. Grand entry on Saturday will begin at 1 p.m. and again at 6:15 p.m.
According to Phil Strickland, Coharie Tribe chairperson, the annual Cultural Pow Wow is the most important time of year for the Coharie Tribe. It is an opportunity for all Native American Indian people to celebrate the history of their ancestors. This opportunity allows the Coharie People to reunite and brainstorm on the growth and direction of future generations. It is also a time of sharing and education with the non-native community.
“It will be a time of cultural enrichment, fellowship and fun for everyone,” Strickland said. “The revitalization of our people and community is encouraging. Projects such as the Great Coharie River Initiative and the Coharie Community Gardens are organized to unify the Coharie People. We have seen an immense increase of youth and young adult participation among tribal affairs as well as community projects.”
While a Pow Wow is open to the public, and the event may seem like entertainment to an outsider, the grounds and ceremonies are all sacred events, blessed by the chief prior to the beginning of the ceremony.
As a way to honor the tribe’s traditions and the sacredness of the ceremony, Strickland says there should be no drugs, alcohol, profanity or boisterous behavior on the tribal grounds. The Coharie Pow Wows began in 1969 under the leadership of James D. “Dob” Brewington, who was chief at the time.
Each dance session begins with a grand entry, a procession of honor guard, head dancers, royalty and dancers. The flag bearers also known as the Honor Guards, lead the procession carrying the eagle staff, American flag, and frequently, the POW/MIA flag.
In its seventh year, the Warriors Memorial Ride is a way to honor veterans and military service personnel. The ride will begin at the Coharie Tribal Center and will leave promptly at 10 a.m. The riders will travel 88 miles through Sampson County. Following the ride, participants will have an opportunity to show off their motorcycles and enjoy lunch. The participating veterans and service personnel will be honored in the arena with a honor song. The general public is welcome to participate in this event. Simply go to www.coharietribe.org and click on Warrior’s Ride to download the registration form.
Serving as head dancer this year are Idalis Jacobs and Isaiah Robinson. Head dancers lead a single file procession of dancers arranged by dance category and age. As a sign of respect, everyone is asked to stand during the grand entry and men should remove their head coverings.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.