PEMBROKE — Lumbee Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin believes the tribe’s annual Dance of the Spring Moon Powwow is destined to become one of the premier powwows on the East Coast.
“This is going to be the biggest and most successful powwow ever,” said Godwin, who is serving his second year as chairman. “We’re expecting a larger crowd than last year… . This is a great event. We are all going to have a great time.”
The powwow, which will be held Friday through Sunday at the Lumbee Tribe Cultural Center at 638 Terry Sanford Road, is expected to draw between 8,000 and 12,000 spectators, including some from 50 American Indian tribes from Canada and across the United States. Between 300 and 400 dancers will compete for cash prizes during the three-day event.
John “Stick Boy” Oxendine, chairman of this year’s powwow, said there will be something of interest for folks of all ages and races.
“We’re excited,” he said. “This is a chance for us to promote the culture of who the Lumbee people are.”
In addition to plenty of dancing and drumming, food vendors, arts-and-crafts, and cultural and educational exhibits, this year’s powwow features a living history exhibit, including short scenes from “Strike at the Wind!” There will also be traditional stickball games.
The scenes from “Strike at the Wind!” will be performed in front of the Henry Berry Lowry House at 7:40 p.m. Friday; 12:30, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Grand entries will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, noon and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Godwin said this will be the first time that the Lumbee Tribe’s official eagle staff will be carried in powwow grand entries. He also said that during Friday’s grand entry students from high school ROTC programs will have the opportunity for the first time to participate.
“We always recognize our veterans in our grand entries, but this time we want to honor our students who plan to make a career in the military,” Godwin said.
Godwin said it has been a challenge to prepare the center for the powwow because of the need to clean up the cultural center property in the wake Hurricane Matthew.
“Thanks to FEMA we obtained cultural and environmental recovery funds to help with such things as removing fallen trees and tree limbs. It was about a 60-day process,” he said.
Gates will open for the public at 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $8 adults; $6 for youth ages 6 to 12; $5 seniors, age 55 and older; and free for children age 5 and younger. For military personnel with an ID it is $5; Sunday only is $5; and a pass for the entire weekend is $18.
General parking is free at Purnell Swett High School. Shuttles will provide transportation to the cultural center grounds.
Some parking passes are available for $20 and allow parking on cultural center grounds. These passes are valid for the entire weekend.
For information about the powwow, call 910-521-7861 or visit www.lumbeetribe.com.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.