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The Powwow Report . . .

36th HALIWA-SAPONI POWWOW – HOLLISTER, NC - APRIL 20-22, 2001

We had heard for several years that this was a big powwow. This year, this was a big powwow by North Carolina standards.

We arrived at the powwow Saturday, April 21, at 9:30 a.m.. We stayed until 6:00 p.m. This report is somewhat limited because we were not present Sunday.

Arnold Richardson was master of ceremonies. Being Haliwa, he had a lot of insight into the history of the tribe and community and its powwow. He is known as a flute maker, player, and flute music composer.

Tony Hedgepeth and Maria D. Richardson were head dancers.

Archie Lynch of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe appeared to be arena director.

Stoney Creek was host drum. Other drums present were Secret Hill Singers, Southern Eagle, Southern Suns, Red Wolf, and the Edisto River Singers.

We counted 208 dancers at the Saturday noon Grand Entry. The MC announced there were 215 registered dancers, and we believe that. To our knowledge, no other N.C. powwow currently draws that many dancers. It was a competition powwow and a few of the powwow circuit’s high-powered dancers were present, such as Osceola Red Shirt and J.R. Brushbreaker. Dancer registration fee was $5.00.

Thirty craft vending booths were set up circling the dance arena. Two food booths and one drink vendor provided food and beverages. The quality of the craft vendors was good. And people were apparently buying. We did not see a booth without numerous people examining booth items all afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS:

There was no rain this year.

MC Arnold Richardson shared some history of the tribe and powwow and also performed some of his flute music during one of the breaks in dancing action.

Miss Indian World 2000-2001, Lillian “Cepa” Sparks, attended the powwow with her mother, Georgeline, and younger sister, Elyse. Georgeline said they always come to the Hollister powwow.

The Haliwa Indian Charter School had a special honoring dance for its students and parents with a large toy give-away for the children of the school.

The MC’s son and daughter-in-law sponsored a Fancy Dance Special in honor of their young son, Caleb, dancing in the circle for the first time. Caleb, who appeared to be age six or seven, is a fancy dancer. The first-place winner in the special received $100 and a dance regalia outfit.

Probably the most people in attendance that we’ve ever seen at a regular powwow. (The October fall festival at Cherokee doesn’t count because it is first and foremost a fall festival and not just a powwow.)

THE DOWN SIDE:

A lot of time was taken Saturday afternoon with the Haliwa princess competition. We feel the princess competition and selection process could be conducted perhaps Friday night and leave most of Saturday to competition and exhibition dancing.

Long waiting lines at the two food booths: We feel a powwow this size can easily support four or five large food booths. The tribal food concession in the large white tent moved the food buyers fairly well, but we waited in line over 20 minutes to order food at the other booth.

In light of the history of rain at this powwow, this is going to sound ungrateful, but the dust in the air was a little much. We don’t know what could be done short of bringing in a water sprinkling truck a few times during the day. We have seen this done at a few other powwows.

PARTIAL and UNOFFICIAL COMPETITION RESULTS:

Drum Contest: 1st - Red Wolf, 2nd - Edisto River Singers, 3rd - Southern Eagle.

Men's Traditional: 1st - Osceola Red Shirt, 2nd - Wayahsti Perkins, 3rd - Mike Zeigler.

Women's Traditional: 1st - Dorothy Gray, 2nd - Taiyin Snowflower, 3rd - Sharon Harris.

Men's Grass: 1st - JR (Darrell) Brushbreaker, 2nd - ?, 3rd - Robert Blake.

Women's Jingle: 1st - Meredith Hedgepeth, 2nd - Sara Osceola, 3rd - Jenny Red Shirt.

Men's Fancy: 1st - Wayahsti Richardson, 2nd - Daniel Tramper, 3rd - ?

Women's Fancy: 1st - Georgina Jones, 2nd - Lillian "Cepa" Sparks, 3rd - Micki ?

Men's Straight: 1st - Ray Silva, 2nd - ?, 3rd - ?

(If anyone can supply the official results, please send the information to ncnativenews@hotmail.com.)

CONCLUSION:

This was our first time to attend this powwow. We are very glad we did. It was enjoyable on several levels: number and quality of dancers, number and quality of drum groups, and the quality of craft vendors.

Even though this was a competition powwow, it definitely had the feel of community about it. Tribal Chief (and Rev.) Ronald Richardson gave a rousing welcoming address during the Saturday noon grand entry and that seemed to set the tone of the afternoon and the powwow. Virtually everybody we saw and/or talked to seemed to be having a very good time. If there was any petty bickering on the grounds, or “powwow politics,” we didn’t witness it.

We’re glad we went and we are looking forward to the event next year.


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