The Nanticoke Pow Wow

September 9-10, 1995

I sat staring at the Sunday morning paper in disbelief. This was the weekend of the Nanticoke Pow Wow and I had nearly missed it! Dressing quickly I decided to point my van in the direction of Oak Orchard and the forest where I knew the Pow Wow was taking place. My Sunday prayers would rise to Manito with the Nanticokes and the local people who gathered with them this day.

A long line of cars waited to enter the Pow Wow parking grounds. I pulled up behind them and slowly entered what was for me, a new world. I was alone and this was my first pow wow. We gathered on the dusty trail at the edge of the woods and jumped aboard two bench seats pulled by a tractor. I enjoyed the bumpy ride into the forest and the warm breezes on my face. The sun managed to pour itself between the trees and became a natural spotlight on the clearing where a few Nanticokes were dancing as I arrived.

Immediately the sounds and rhythm of the drums captured my senses. I felt dwarfed by the ancient trees and walked with respect for I knew I was on sacred ground. My eyes focused on an Information booth and a most gracious young Indian woman assisted me. I wanted to find written information about the Nanticokes for our online course.

My search led me to the many booths and stalls arranged around the main Pow Wow arena. For an hour I was lost among the crafts made by Indian hands. I browsed and took photos as I went along. They are here for you on these pages...

I bought a piece of fried bread and sprinkled powdered sugar on it. The taste was not unlike the fried dough my Italian grandmother used to make when I was just a tiny girl.

I ate the bread and continued my walk through the Pow Wow grounds until it was time for assistant chief of the Nanticoke tribe, Charles C. Clark IV, Little Owl, to begin telling Indian stories and legends. We listened attentively until it was time for the parade of Indian dancers to enter the arena. The drums and chants began and the crowd gathered around to see the beautiful clothes fashioned by each dancer.

I watched and listened as Tribal Chief, Kenneth S. Clark, Red Deer, welcomed us all. When it was time for me to leave I slowly found my way back on the tractor ride to the parking field. As I pulled out of the Pow Wow grounds and entered Route 24 I knew that I was leaving behind a world that I wanted to know more about.

In the next few weeks we will be discussing the first Marylanders... the Native Americans.

How did they look? How did they divide their work? What did their homes look like?

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