Pow Wow comes to Noccalula Falls

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By Sarrah Peters/News Editor

The Turtle Island Pow Wow took place on Saturday, Aug. 30 at Noccalula Falls. 

The admission fee benefited the Turtle Island Native American Association, a non-profit organization that funds multiple Pow Wows across Alabama and Tennessee. 

Venders came to sell their handmade jewelry, dream catchers and other Native American souvenirs. Specialty crafts and supplies were also sold and demonstrated. 

Gourd art was featured on behalf of the Alabama Craft Show, LLC out of Boaz. The gourd crafts, from bowls, purses, and musical instruments, as well as purely decorative pieces, are hand-carved. Gourds can be used for many projects because of the wide variety of shapes and sizes of gourds. Classes on the subject are offered, and the 2014 Alabama Gourd Festival will be in Cullman Civic Center on Oct. 18 and 19. 

Flint knapping demonstrations and products were also available. Joe Collins, a local flint knapper, has been practicing the art of making stone art and tools for 13 years. He is a member of the Cherokee tribe.

“You start with a larger stone, and work it down into what you are trying to make,” Collins said, holding up a nearly complete stone cross. 

Ramsey King, from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, demonstrated basket weaving. The finished products were sold at his booth. 

Dewey Hamaker, a board member of the Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride, sold t-shirts to raise funds for the event. The motorcycle ride will take place on Sept. 20. Riders will ride from Bridgeport to Waterloo, with a stop in Huntsville between the two destinations. 

Cherokee Indians were forced to move by presidential mandate in 1838. Many Indians were moved to Chattanooga, Fort Payne, and Oklahoma. After conditions in camps deteriorated, with many dying of dysentery and other diseases, the government moved 1,072 rebellious Indians to Waterloo, by the same path the motorcycle ride will take. 

Entertainment was also provided at the Pow Wow with traditional dancing, music and storytelling.

One such dancer was Eva Bryant of the Ani- Yun-Wiya Nation. She is a jingle dress dancer. Eva was chosen to be a jingle dress dancer as a baby, when an elder handed her a jingle. As she grew up, the elders taught her the traditional dances that are meant to lift prayers. 

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