Over 100 Indian Nations at Shinnecock Pow Wow

The Shinnecock Indian Nation’s annual Pow Wow took place over Labor Day Weekend and by all accounts it was a great success. The Pow Wow attracted more than 100 Indian Nations who all brought with them their wares to sell and talents to show off on the grounds of the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton.

The event ran all day and all night long, and brought in thousands of people from all over New York. One family I met came from Queens, while another family I met came all the way from Saratoga Springs. The event, very much a family affair, was great for kids and resembled a carnival, only instead of games and rides you had Indian food and tribal dancing taking place. [expand]

Fried bread sweetened the air as dozens of vendors offered up their best examples of their tribal nation’s cuisine, all of it very good and very interesting. This included Indian pudding, fried breads, Navajo Tacos, authentic Indian fish sandwiches, buffalo burgers and more.

When guests arrived at the event they parked and immediately got onto a shuttle bus, which was a standard yellow school bus that brought you to the grounds. Drumming and singing could be heard as well as the stomp of some of the dances from different tribes, which included the Cherokee, the Navajo and the Micmac tribes. For about 12 bucks, you were inside the event, and walked around all of the different tents where tribes from all over were selling everything from fox skins to buffalo hide blankets to arrowheads to jewelry.

One woman, Carmen Hooke from the Micmac tribe, has been selling her wares all of her life. She was about as charming and nice a woman as could be and had a very interesting specialty that was a change from the standard products being sold such as jewelry and knick-knacks. “I specialize in cradle boards, which is basically the forerunner for backpacks for babies.”

She showed me a beautiful cradle board designed out of leather where an infant could be safely secured. “I also sell authentic Indian arrowheads. They take a long time to make.”

I explored the arrowheads, which were $50 apiece, but absolutely beautiful, handcrafted, and if used properly, could be very deadly. The arrowheads appeared to be one of the more popular items in her booth.

Hooke had nothing but praise when she talked about the Pow Wow. “I’ve been coming to this event for about 15 years,” she said. “This is one of the best ones that I know of, I really enjoy it here. Business is usually really good here, the economy affects all of us of course, but business has been good for me this year. My problem hasn’t been selling my products, it’s been that I can’t make them fast enough!

“I’m really enjoying the nice weather and am very happy that we missed the hurricane. I’ve stayed mostly on the reservation but headed out to the town and think that it is just beautiful,” she added.

After a plate of fried bread and some Thunder Bird Coffee (while getting yelled at by a few Native Americans because they were unhappy that I was taking pictures of the products they were selling), I moved on to the main area where an inter-tribal dance was taking place. This included men, women and children, all on stage and dancing. Hundreds of people stood watching, including this writer, in a state of awe.

By all accounts, the Shinnecock Pow Wow was a huge success, and was a great way to officially end the summer of 2011.

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