Fes­ti­val cel­e­brates 25 years

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com Fol­low Caro­line/Dorch­ester Edi­tor Dustin Holt on Twit­ter @Dustin_S­tarDem.

The Nause-Wai­wash Band of In­di­ans cel­e­brated its 25th an­nual Na­tive Amer­i­can Fes­ti­val with a two-day event in Vi­enna.

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 as the 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 his­tor y,” Ab­bott said. “There is so lit­tle doc­u­men­ta­tion on our his­tory.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Nause-Wai­wash Band of In­di­ans’ Na­tive Amer­i­can Fes­ti­val, visit http://turtle­tracks.org and find them on Face­book.

The Aztec Tra­di­tional Fire Dancers per­form at the 25th an­nual Na­tive Amer­i­can Fes­ti­val in Vi­enna Sun­day, Sept. 17.

PHO­TOS BY DUSTIN HOLT

The Aztec Tra­di­tional Fire Dancers per­form at the 25th an­nual Na­tive Amer­i­can Fes­ti­val in Vi­enna Sun­day, Sept. 17.

The 25th an­nual Na­tive Amer­i­can Fes­ti­val in Vi­enna fea­tured a silent auc­tion with dolls made by Jan­ice Bevins.

The Aztec Tra­di­tional Fire Dancers per­form at the 25th an­nual Na­tive Amer­i­can Fes­ti­val in Vi­enna Sun­day, Sept. 17.

Nause-Wai­wash Chief Donna “Wolf Mother” Ab­bott, right, Ac­co­han­nock Chief Lone Wolf and As­sateague Peo­ple of Del­marva Chief Quiet Bear have an ar­row ex­change as a sym­bol of unity dur­ing the 25th an­nual Na­tive Amer­i­can Fes­ti­val in Vi­enna Sun­day, Sept. 17.

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