Native American Gathering Focuses on Traditional Music, Dance, Skills

April 21, 2008


Source: The Times and Democrat

Traditional music and dance and other practices of Native Americans was the focus of an event held during the 17th Annual Western Weekend Rodeo and Festival in South Congaree.

The Native American gathering featured a grand entry in which all of the participants marched into the sacred circle. Emcee Gary Five Crows introduced the various dance groups and explained the ceremonies to onlookers.

A group of five drummers, led by Grandfather Strongheart, accompanied many of the dance performances. The drummers also provided music for the sacred ceremonies, such as welcoming babies into the Native American community. Flute music was performed by Cathy Nelson. Nelson is a teacher with the Colleton County School District.

Children had fun trying their hand at throwing five hatchets at a target.

Sarah Jolley, a member of the Beaver Creek Indians from Salley, sponsored an educational exhibit. The display included Native American tools, weapons, artifacts and even a turban made using turkey feathers. Jolley said Indians on the Southeast Coast did not wear war bonnets made with coup feathers. Instead they made a turban of mink or other fur and topped it with turkey feathers. In the 1500s and 1600s, European settlers would look for the person wearing this special turban when they wanted to trade with local tribes, Jolley said.