The seventh annual Aquinnah Powwow at Aquinnah Circle began Saturday at noon with the Grand Entry, a procession of dancers and drummers. Members of 10 nations were in attendance, and the powwow also honored tribal veterans and elders.
Members of the Narragansett Tribe certainly had the most representation, with Hiawatha Brown as the arena director, head dancers Christian and Leah Hopkins, Dean Stanton, who always has a remarkable style of dance, and members of the Hazard family in attendance.
Members of the Haida, Mashpee, Mashantucket Pequot, and Ute tribes all were there for a weekend that saw beautiful weather and celebration.
There were four drums present. The Black Brook Drum of Aquinnah sang throughout the weekend for the first time. Drumming also was performed by Eastern Sons and Wakeby Lake, the Allomisuc Lake Drum, and Rez Dogs, who have drummed each year.
Dances included the stomp dance, the mosquito dance, the snake dance, and other traditional dances.
Aquinnah tribal elder Gladys A. Widdiss (Wild Cranberry) made a very special appearance on Sunday and offered a few words of encouragement for those who had gathered.
Tribal council chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais was dressed in her regalia upon her arrival on Sunday and spoke a few words, including thanks to those who attended and especially the volunteers. Others too enjoyed the powwow in the dress of their ancestors.
There were vendors from several tribes with wampum jewelry, beadwork, other handcrafts and Wampanoag food.
Tribal elder Edith Andrews was in charge of the booth offering T-shirts with the design created for the 2011 powwow, while Shelley Carter and her granddaughter, Tiara Lee, were in charge of selling leftover tees from previous years (and at a real-deal price). Clyde Andrews of New Bedford was in charge of the food concession for volunteers, drum and dancers. Clyde was accompanied by his father, Joseph Andrews.
Tribal members donated beautiful items for the country store raffle table. Chief F. Ryan Malonson won the 50/50 raffle two days in a row! He donated his first day’s winnings back to the powwow.
Tribal members traveling from afar to attend the powwow included Judith Manning Milavsky from her home in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Charles Madison Jr. and his sons, Charles III and Derwin, and their family and friends, from Philadelphia, Pa.; Charles and Allison Hopkins from Worcester. Michael Johnson and his wife, Brenda, and their daughter, Ashley, arrived from the Cape. On Sunday afternoon, 60 of Michael and Eleanor Hebert’s travel group arrived to enjoy viewing the traditional dance and drum.
The powwow was brought back by the Tribal Youth Group under the direction of Bonnie Chalifoux, Kristina Kestenbaum Leslie, and Theresa Kistner Manning in 2005, after a hiatus of 75 years. The Tribal Youth Group sponsored the powwow for the first three years. It is now funded and sponsored by the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), the National Park Service, the Department of Justice, Indian Health Service, Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior and the tribal departments and offices of the Education Department, Human Services Department, Natural Resources Department, Planning Office, and Tribal Historic Preservation Office.
At the end of the powwow, a give-away is a fun time and acknowledges the veterans, volunteers, drummers, dancers and tribal elders. “It was a great powwow,” said Jamie Sue Vanderhoop, and her husband, Woody Vanderhoop, agreed it was lots of fun. Until next year.