Friday, June 21, 2013 —
The town of Badin is taking a step back thousands of years to celebrate its centennial Friday and Saturday.
The inaugural Historic Badin Hardaway Annual Powwow will be at the lakeside field across from Badin Business Park just off N.C. 740 in Badin beginning at 6 p.m. Friday and continuing at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Intertribal dancing, storytelling, music, arts and crafts and vendors of all walks will participate in the all-day event that will display a portion of the cultural aspects of Native Americans not only in this part of the state but around the country.
“There hasn’t been a Native American celebration there for probably thousands of years, that we know of. That’s what we are kind of celebrating,” said Matt Steed, one of the event coordinators with David Summerlin.
Steed, who is Cherokee, said he had been trying to get a powwow started in Albemarle as far back as 2001. He was also trying to get one together in 2011 when Badin Town Manager Jay Almond and Summerlin, who works for the Badin Museum, approached him about this idea.
“My plan was to have one in 2011 and I was actually in the process of talking with the city of Albemarle to get that straightened out. Right about that time, Jay Almond and David Summerlin from the museum in Badin contacted me and said they wanted to have a powwow in Badin,” Steed said.
“Then they explained to me the history (of Badin), which I had no idea about at that time. They explained to me the history and I thought that would be the best thing to do. It was like a God-send almost that they came to me. So we decided to go from there.”
Almond said the idea of putting on the event is something they’ve been looking forward to since plans were formulating to have a monthly event to celebrate the town’s centennial.
“We are definitely looking forward to the powwow. It’s a big deal for the town of Badin. It really touches on the town’s history,” Almond said.
“With Badin, even the logo and slogan deals with both Native Americans and our history runs deep. This really ties in with what Badin is about, the natural beauty and cherishing its rich history. So we are really looking forward to it.”
Both Almond and Steed agreed that the toughest thing was lining up the vendors and talent to participate in the event. Steed has several friends who have participated in numerous powwows before and were glad to help.
That includes Mike and Jeannie Cranford, the lead dancers at Saturday’s festival. Also scheduled to be on hand are emcee Harland Richardson, host Drum NaMaWoChi and arena director Rick Kelley.
“The most difficult part is to coordinate all of the people that will be selling things, the vendors, that type of stuff. All the crafts that are being displayed and sold have to be all handmade by natives,” Steed said.
“I have a lot of friends that are on the powwow circuit that do powwows. Our head man and head lady dancers are good friends that I’ve known for years and they were the first people I contacted. They are known throughout the state and southeast. They are pretty busy doing the head dancing at a lot of powwows.”
“It’s definitely a big undertaking. Not only the centennial year, each event throughout the year but, for instance, the Lou Donaldson concert and this powwow, the logistics are a little bit broader and there’s more to pull together. So they are both pretty big events,” Almond said.
“The kind of thing you get into, the more you work on it, the bigger you realize it is. Right now, we feel like we’ve got a lot of time and energy invested in it with volunteers who put it all together and obviously with cooperation from local folks.
“Alcoa owns the property and they have been very good to work with. We’ve got some things that we are doing with the county and the local fire department. There's a lot of tie-ins and everybody has been working well together on that.”
Almond said three tee pees will be put up as part of the festivities. He said local artists have worked to paint the tee pees in a way that they are accurate for every tribe. Steed said those tribes that will likely be in attendance include Cherokee, Lumbee, Chippewa, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Cree and Haliwa-Saponi.
“This is going to be an annual event,” Steed said.
“A woman that was from the Lumbee tribe asked me if this is a competition. I told her it’s not because our focus is on the celebration and the tradition of this being a meeting place for all tribes all over the country. For a lot of natives, it’s a very spiritual place. We wanted to leave the competition out of it.”
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