Nanticoke’s Annual Powwow set to take place this weekend

The Nanticoke Indian Tribe’s 42nd Annual Powwow, a time to celebrate life in the powwow circle, is planned for this weekend at the powwow grounds at 26800 John J. Williams Highway, near Millsboro.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The admission charge is $5 per person, and parking is free.

Guests are being encouraged to take lawn chairs, as seating is provided only for dancers and the handicapped. Call (302) 945-3400 or go to www.nanticokeindians.org for more information.

“We are taught that by honoring individuals, we encourage the next generation to embrace the unlimited possibilities of the world,” a Nanticoke Indian Tribe news release states.

Powwows can be enjoyable for many reasons, including the air of happiness and joy in renewing old friendships and seeing relatives again, plus the return of 40 American Indian vendors whose family members join the dance circle.

Organizers said the native way is to be polite and considerate to one another and to give special consideration and attention to children and elders.

One of the dances performed will be the Jingle Dance, known for its association with healing. It originated with the Ojibwe in the Great Lakes region. The dress is said to have healed a medicine man’s granddaughter. In a dream, the elder was told to make a jingle dress and have his granddaughter dance in it and she got well.

The colorful dress is covered with rolled up snuff-can lids attached with brightly colored ribbons. The jingles are close enough together to hit one another, creating a musical, happy sound, similar to rain. Dancers perform simple zigzag steps, with no high stepping or fancy footwork, and make the jingles sway.

Jingles are attached to soft cloth, such as taffeta or cotton. The dancer is judged by footwork and grace.

Fancy Dancing originated in the South during the early 1920s. Today’s Fancy Dance regalia are the most striking aspect of a powwow, with their U-shaped bustles, matching beadwork and flashy color combinations. The style of dancing is unlimited, and the steps used vary with each dancer. Spins, turns and hops may appear.

The Women’s Fancy Shawl Dance is the women’s version of Fancy Dancing. A relatively new style, it’s only a couple of decades old. It originated among the northern tribes and was quickly adopted by the southern tribes.

The shawl is the most obvious aspect of the dance. This dance is the same as the men’s Fancy, except the women are stepping high, and spinning and turning.

Guests are asked to listen to the master of ceremony, who will advise when it is appropriate to take pictures of dancers.

Native American crafts will be on display and for sale at the powwow, including clothing, jewelry and commemorative items, as will Native foods, such as Indian fry bread, succotash and corn-on-the-cob.