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American Indian Intertribal Powwow returns to Jamestown Settlement

This year alone, Duane Baldwin has attended close to 15 powwows.

Baldwin regularly dances at powwows, as he has since he was a child.

But this year, Baldwin, education specialist at Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, also hoped to promote Jamestown Settlement's own American Indian Intertribal Powwow, celebrating Native American culture through song, dance and storytelling on Oct. 1 and 2.

"A powwow is a celebration of culture for native people. It's not a religious dance, per se, but there is a spiritual aspect to it," Baldwin said. Though not of Native American heritage, Baldwin has danced and sung at powwows since the age of 6.

Baldwin said the settlement used to host powwows in the 1990s. More recently, Martin Saniga, a foundation employee at the time, proposed the powwow's return, and Baldwin joined the effort.

"We're really kind of expanding the scope in some ways," said Baldwin.

But dancing remains the focus. On both days, a parade of dancers makes the "Grand Entry" at 12:30 p.m. into a dance circle on the museum mall, dancing and singing until 4:30 p.m.

The Master of Ceremonies, David White Buffalo, is of the Sincangu band of the Lakota Nation. He calls the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota home. Working with him as Arena Director is Clark Stewart of the Chickahominy Tribe.

Baldwin said powwows have a strong social element for those involved. Powwowers often travel around, he said, and you see the same participants at different events.

"It's a chance to connect with friends and family," he said.

The powwow's featured singers include the Thundervoice of the Lumbee Tribe in North Carolina, the Zotigh singers of the Kiowa from Oklahoma and The White Buffalo Singers of the Lakota from South Dakota.

These singers, Baldwin said, represent both Northern and Southern Plains style of singing.

This weekend, the powwow welcomes internationally known folk artist Kevin Locke, a hoop dancer, storyteller and indigenous Northern Plains flute player. Locke, who is Lakota and Anishinabe, will perform selections from his 12 albums Saturday evening, blending songs on flute with stories about Lakota culture and sign language.

At evening's end, powwow singers will join Locke as he performs a hoop dance. The healing dance incorporates 28 hoops to form shapes and animals and, according to Locke's website, represents "the roles and responsibilities that all human beings have within the hoops (or circles) of life."

Baldwin said Locke will offer two "intimate" flute workshops each day, teaching participants over two hours how to build and play their own flute. On Saturday, these same participants will get a chance to play with Locke during his performance.

The powwow features daily screenings of "Rising Voices," at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. The documentary examines the endangered indigenous language of the Lakota. Elders and language speakers from the Lakota in South Dakota and Crow in Montana will be present following each screening.

Attendees can also listen to American Indian stories shared by Grace Ostrum of the Accohannock, learn the art of basket-making, watch a"Birds of Prey" by Eagle Pines Falconry and check out Jamestown's "Bartering for a Continent" exhibition on Anglo-Indian trade.

"There's a lot of personalization for the visitors," Baldwin said.

Bridges can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.

Want to go?

Daytime activities: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Oct. 1-2. Admission is $17 for adults, $8 for ages 6-12. With proof of residency, residents of James City and York Counties and City of Williamsburg receive free admission.

Kevin Locke: 6:30 p.m., Oct. 1. Separate admission required at $10 for adults, $5 for ages 6-12. Advance registration required for flute ($35-$40) and basket ($20) workshops. Tickets available at jyfemail.jyf.virginia.gov/eStore.

For more information: Call 888-593-4682, 757-253-4838 or visit historyisfun.org.

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