By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Acquoni Expo Center Football Field will be filled with the sounds of bells, jingles, drums and singing on June 24-26 as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians hosts its 36th Annual Cherokee Pow Wow. Held for the first time off of the July 4th weekend, event organizers are hoping for a large turnout.
“The Cherokee Powwow is an opportunity for Nations to fellowship and celebrate Native America,” said Robert Jumper, EBCI Travel & Promotions manager. “It is also an opportunity for fans of the dancers and the tribes that participate to experience the artistry and personalities that make up a powwow.”
“I hope we have a big turnout for this celebration and that everyone has an opportunity to experience the Cherokee culture and the cultures of all the visiting tribes. Most of all, I hope everyone has a safe and great time at Cherokee Powwow.”
Mary Jane Ferguson, EBCI Travel & Promotions director, commented, “The 2011 Pow Wow was moved from the July 4th weekend in order to strengthen overnight visitation for a June weekend. Hoteliers are traditionally at 100% occupancy for the July 4th time period. Travel & Tourism leadership moved the Pow Wow date in order to have rooms available for our visitors who want to experience the atmosphere of a Pow Wow and to assist the Hotel operators with June occupancy. We think the 2011 Pow Wow will be an exceptional experience for visitors to Cherokee as well as local attendees.”
Grand entries are scheduled for Friday, June 24 at 7pm; Saturday, June 25 at 1pm and 7pm and Sunday, June 26 at 1pm. Rob Daugherty, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation from Jay, Okla., will once again serve as the Master of Ceremonies. A fluent speaker of the Cherokee language, Daugherty has served as emcee at numerous events in Cherokee including last year’s pow wow.
The Mystic River Singers, from Mashantucket, CT, will serve as Host Northern Drum and the Scissortail Singers, from Shawnee, Okla., will serve as the Host Southern Drum.
Phillip “Yogi” Bread, a member of the Kiowa Tribe currently living in Tahlequha, Okla., will serve as the arena director. Kenny Merrick, Jr., a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes living in Mashantucket, CT, will serve as Head Singing Judge and fellow Three Affiliated Tribes member Rusty Gillette, currently living in Arlington, VA, will serve as Head Dance Judge.
Dance and singing contests will be held with registration opening Friday at 12pm. Dance contest registration is $10 and Singing contest registration is $50 per drum group. All contestants must be a member of a federally or state recognized tribe to register and proof is required.
General admission for the public is $5/day with children 6 & under free. A three-day pass is available for $12.