By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLAND, Va. —
The Bland County Fairground was a most tranquil location on Sunday for a Native American worship service and later, a Grand Entry into the Sacred Circle of the Wolf Creek Intertribal Pow-Wow.
“This has been a great event!” Brian (Two Crows) Dawkins said immediately after performing a flute duet with well-known Native American flautist, Roy (Spotted Eagle) Glass. Dawkins now lives in Greenville, S.C., but he is familiar with Southwest Virginia, having served as an associate pastor at the Baptist Church in Pound, Va.
“Spotted Eagle led the worship service this morning, and it was a beautiful service,” Dawkins said. “I have found that many of the people I meet at pow-wows are persons of faith. Another one of the members of my drum circle is a minister.”
Spotted Eagle (Glass) joked with the audience between flute selections. Counting dancers and others, there were 200 or more people standing outside the circle and scores more staffing vendor booths on the outer circle.
“There’s a lot of Cherokee here at this circle,” Glass said. “How many of you know the ‘Cherokee National Anthem?’” he asked. Several hands went up, but when he asked how many didn’t know the “Cherokee National Anthem,” many more hands went into the air. “You are going to be surprised,” he said.
A female singer joined Glass in the Sacred Circle and he started playing the melody of the John Newton hymn, “Amazing Grace,” and she sang the Cherokee lyrics of the nation’s national anthem.
“We’re so proud of this pow-wow,” Sherri Dillow, general manager of the Wolf Creek Museum and Indian Village. “We were hoping to have 400 attend the three-day event, but after just two days, we had 330 visitors here. I know we are way over our goal today. County Administrator Eric Workman said the county is already planning to host another one next year.
“We’re proud of Chief Jim Wilson, principal chief of the Near River Dwellers who organized this Pow-Wow,” Dillow said. “He did a wonderful job. I’m also proud of our staff at Wolf Creek, the vendors, dancers and everyone associated with the Pow-Wow.”
“The Creator has been good to us,” Gerald (Bear Killer) Gill said as he tended his museum during the program. “We had a beautiful day on Saturday, and it rained really hard after we closed for the evening. Now, it’s a beautiful day again. The Creator has been good to us.”
As Ken Cloudwalker narrated the Grand Entry, Carlos (Lone Wolf) Martin went through the crowd carrying a staff with several eagle feathers attached and thanked each person in the audience for attending the pow-wow.
Nelson (Red Hawk) offered the opening prayer at the ceremony, and made no apologies for his Christian beliefs. “Grant us peace, Grandfather,” he asked in his prayer.
The dancers entered the Sacred Circle led by several veterans among the Cherokee dancers. Their colors included the American flag, a POW/MIA flag and two staffs with eagle feathers attached. Cloudwalker asked all veterans to join the circle as well as the mothers of veterans, followed by all emergency responders, police, fire and rescue.
As Chief Jim Wilson, himself a Vietnam War veteran, made his way to the East entrance to the Sacred Circle, he said plans are already underway for the second Wolf Creek Pow-Wow on the first weekend of August 2014. “This has been a good event,” Wilson said.
Christine Myers of Wytheville, Va., tapped her foot along with every song the drummers performed. “I’ve been to every Pow-Wow they’ve had up here in Bland County,” she said. “I’m part Cherokee and part Powhatan. We come up here every year, she added, motioning to her husband, Norman Myers.
Mary Margaret Dickens, a native of Peru who is in college in South Carolina, but working as an intern for the summer at Wolf Creek found the Pow-Wow fascinating.
“I like it,” she said. “It’s pretty cool. I like seeing all of the people dressed up.”
— Contact Bill Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org