Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians hosts Native American Festival
VIENNA — The Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians celebrated its 25th annual Native American Festival with a two-day event in Vienna.
The festival was held Saturday, Sept. 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Vienna ballpark.
The Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians is made up of descendants of local Nanticoke Indians. Their first festival was held in 1992. In 2005, the annual celebration of their heritage was moved to Vienna to bring the event closer to the sites of the original villages.
The festival featured an exchange of arrows between Nause-Waiwash Chief Donna “Wolf Mother” Abbott, Assateague People of Delmarva Chief Quiet Bear and Accohannock Chief Lone Wolf as a symbol of unity.
Visitors also enjoyed traditional native dancing, demonstrations, authentic Native American food, drumming, crafts, raffles, silent and live auctions, a bake sale and vendors. The Eastern Woodland Life Arts, Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs and Aztec Traditional Dancers appeared at the festival.
“The festival has been great,” Abbott said. “A lot of our supporters have come out again this year. We have seen a lot of new people this year.
“The arrow exchange is great because it renews are friendly bond between the tribes in the area that we can count of one another if
we need support,” she said. “They know they can come to us for help as well.
“We cannot thank the town of Vienna enough,” she said.” They are huge supporters of us and our festival. They let us use the ball field, the town hall and let us come in days early to prepare. They are great.”
The event also featured live and silent auctions, benefiting the Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians, with items including gift cards for restaurants and activities.
The Nause-Waiwash Indians welcomed Abbott a new chief in 2015. She became the first woman to ever lead this remnant tribe of Lower Eastern Shore Native Americans.
Abbott was born and raised in Dorchester County, her native roots extending back for generations.
“We are incredibly proud to have our event going strong for 25 years,” Abbott said. “It is a big accomplishment for us.
“Chief Sewell Winterhawk Fitzhugh, who passed a few years ago, was the glue and anchor for us,” she said. “We continue to have the festival and stay together in his honor. We just decided this is what we are doing to do for him and the rest of our ancestors. We are hoping to do another 125 years.”
The festival began, according to the Nause-Waiwash — to educate the public and hold onto their culture, and raise money for their tribal office and longhouse.
“Our mission is to educate the community about our history,” Abbott said. “There is so little documentation on our histor y.”
For more information about the Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians’ Native American Festival, visit http://turtletracks.org and find them on Facebook.
Follow Caroline/ Dorchester Editor Dustin Holt on Twitter @Dustin_ StarDem.
Nause-Waiwash Chief Donna “Wolf Mother” Abbott, right, receives an arrow from Accohannock Chief Lone Wolf Sunday, Sept. 17, at the 25th annual Native American Festival in Vienna.
Nause-Waiwash Chief Donna “Wolf Mother” Abbott, right, receives an arrow from Assateague People of Delmarva Chief Quiet Bear Sunday, Sept. 17, at the 25th annual Native American Festival in Vienna.
The Aztec Traditional Fire Dancers perform at the 25th annual Native American Festival in Vienna Sunday, Sept. 17.