Annual powwow celebrating 32nd year

The Nanticoke Indian Association’s 32nd annual powwow will be held Sept. 12-13 near Millsboro. The 2009 powwow marks the 32nd year of the event.

Coastal Point • File photo: The Nanticoke Indian Association’s 32nd annual powwow will be held next weekend near Millsboro.Coastal Point • File photo
The Nanticoke Indian Association’s 32nd annual powwow will be held next weekend near Millsboro.

“I cannot believe we’ve had that many!” said Odette Wright, a powwow committee organizer. Wright, a Nanticoke tribe member, started working with the tribal events in 1976.

“We opened up in ’84 with the museum, and now we’ve had a powwow for 32 years,” she noted.

The Nanticoke Indian Tribe boasts more than 600 members and is gaining more members all the time, and many of them will be participating in the powwow. More than 40 other tribes from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina and many other states will be traveling to Millsboro to participate in the powwow, which is the largest on the East Coast.

The powwow will begin at noon on Saturday, Sept. 12, with a Grand Entry and announcement of the start of the festivities. Approximately 300 dancers in full regalia will be participating in the Jingle Dance, Woman’s Traditional Dance and the Toe Dance. In addition to dancing, there will be traditional drum music. Nanticoke drummers will be playing, along with host drummer Red Blanket of New Jersey and other drum groups.

For kids, there will be face painting, as well as Native American storytelling, and more than 50 vendors will also be on the grounds, selling everything from feather paintings, baskets, leatherwork and moccasins to ceramics, clothing and silver and turquoise jewelry.

Food vendors will provide some traditional Native American cuisine, such as Indian tacos, fry bread and succotash. There will also be hot dogs, ice cream, popcorn, buffalo burgers and more. The Nanticoke Indian Museum will also be open for visitors, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with regular admission prices.

On Sunday, Aug. 13, at 10 a.m., the annual powwow worship service will be held. The service, which will be led by the Rev. Jerry Denton of the Indian Mission Church, a Methodist denomination, will last until noon. Another Grand Entry will follow, at 1:30 p.m., along with more dancing, drumming and festivities.

Admission costs $8 for cars and their occupants and $5 for motorcycles, with all-day parking, and $2 for walk-ins.

Those attending should make sure to bring lawn chairs, as more than 40,000 people are expected to attend the two day event. Wright couldn’t be happier.

“It’s amazing. I never thought it would be that many people coming. The first one we had, we probably didn’t even have 500, and after that it kept going in the thousands and thousands.”

For more information, call the Nanticoke Indian Center at (302) 945-3400 or visit