HOLLY HILL — Peggy Scott, vice chief of the Santee Indian Organization, was among those performing traditional Native American dances during the group’s annual Family Fun Day and Powwow at its tribal grounds on Bayview Street near Holly Hill.
Saturday’s event featured Native American music and dances, gospel music, food, games and prizes.
“We are a Native American tribe here on the outskirts of Holly Hill,” Scott said. “A lot of people don’t realize a Native American tribe is here.”
The event was open to the public, and visitors came from nearby communities, including representatives of other Native American tribes.
“This is the first time our tribe has had a Powwow, and it’s the first time I’ve danced in seven years,” Scott said.
Scott and other Native American women participated in the Women’s Traditional Dance as part of the Powwow. Each woman carried a blanket unique to the Santee Indians, which they draped over their left arms.
“There you have the colors of your tribe. The colors of my tribe are red, white and black,” Scott said.
Each woman also carried a fan of feathers. Scott’s fan held 17 white feathers representing the tribe.
Family Fun Day not only serves as an opportunity for families of the Santee Indian Organization and other Native Americans to get together, but it’s also a way to make the public aware that Native Americans are vital members of their communities.
The Santee Indian Organization, which is governed by a tribal council, has earned official state recognition as a Native American tribe, and the group is now working to achieve federal recognition.
Peter Hoesing, who recently joined the music faculty at Claflin University as an ethnomusicologist, attended Saturday’s event with his wife and young child.
“This is a fantastic event,” Hoesing said. “I’m so glad we came here, and I’m glad the newspaper is here covering it.”
Pee Dee Indian Nation Chief Skyye Vereen of Neeses also participated in the Family Fun Day and Powwow. She said her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents share Native American ancestry. Vereen said she is always proud to take part in events that celebrate her Native American heritage.
Currin Pounds, 16, of Orangeburg was clad from head to toe in the traditional regalia of his Choctaw tribe.
“It’s a great day to be out here to dance and feel good,” Pounds said. “This is something to be part of. There aren’t too many true Native Americans around anymore. I’m glad to keep it going.”
After festivities had gotten under way on Saturday, some of the participants witnessed a hawk fly over the tribal grounds three times. The hawk even swooped closer to the Native American gathering during one fly-over, they said.
“That is really a good sign,” Scott said of the hawk’s presence.
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