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Native American culture in Nanticoke Heritage Day
http://sussexcountypost.com/arts-leisur … spotlight/ (Pictures at the link.)
Jun 25th, 2017 Â· by Glenn Rolfe
MILLSBORO â€“ When Native American Boe Harris plays the flute, itâ€™s far more than an instrument and music.
â€œOnce you get a flute you are now on a journey for the rest of your life, said Ms. Harris. A member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa and Spirit Lake Dakota tribal groups, Ms. Harris was among the performers and presenters Saturday at Nanticoke Indian Associationâ€™s Annual Heritage Day.
â€œYou see we are taught not to master this instrument, said Ms. Harris. â€œSometimes we take music classes; a piano, drum, trombone, and we are taught to master your instrument. That is not the way we do it with the flute. The flute is a journey, and a lifelong journey.
Like its annual powwow in September, Nanticoke Indian Associationâ€™s Heritage Day is a celebration of Native American culture, custom and heritage.
Saturdayâ€™s event at the Nanticoke Indian Museum near Millsboro featured Native American food, arts and crafts, song and dance and free museum tours.
Special guest speaker was noted state of Delaware historian Russell McCabe, director emeritus of the Delaware Public Archives.
One craft booth featured glass snaps handcrafted by Dawn Manyfeathers, with proud Lenape Indian heritage. Her wares include metal snaps and those of glass which she makes with a personal touch.
â€œI am a stone heart. They call people like me stone hearts. That means we follow the old way. We try to stay as close to tradition as possible, said Ms. Manyfeathers. â€œNow something like this (metal snaps) is different. But as far as bead-work and pine needle baskets and things like that I teach that for my people to keep it going. Youâ€™ve got to keep it going.
Ms. Manyfeathers and her husband, Len Littlefox reside in Eden, Md. Their Maryland residence is home to a potential growing link to the Lenape past.
â€œIf they grow well, I have the original strain of corn and beans that the Lenape had way back. The beans are called Indian Hannah Beans, like my grandmotherâ€™s name. She preserved that strain of bean, said Ms. Manyfeathers. â€œThere was only one place that had them. It was a school. The gentleman, I told him I was a Lenape, and he gave me a small envelope of them.
The corn is a Black Flint Corn, which is harder than Dent Corn, a yellow variety commonly used for corn meal because itâ€™s softer and easier grind, Ms. Manyfeathers explained.
â€œYouâ€™ll get a hard grind and a longer cook with your Flint corn. They can be used interchangeably, she said. â€œI have the Lenape Flint corn, which is the black corn. Itâ€™s growing in a pot at home. Iâ€™m going to see how it does. This is the first time Iâ€™ve tried them. If I get corn this year Iâ€™ll pass them to the Nanticokes. As long as the person is a mile away from any corn field or bean field, they wonâ€™t contaminate. So, I have to be careful who I give them to, too.
Ms. Harris explained tradition and prayer associated with the flute.
â€œWe want to thank all of the ancestors â€¦ because sometimes they had to do it in private and quietly. So, we want to thank the Creator for the gift of the flute. And we want to thank the ancestors for keeping this instrument and passing it on, said Ms. Harris. â€œWe also want to pray and thank the Creator for the flute-maker. Because every flute-maker that I have gotten my flutes from always prays before they collect the wood for the flute and they always pray for the process of making the flute.
â€œWe also pray for the songs that have been passed down, said Ms. Harris. â€œAnd you also pray for the gift of breath, because it is your breath that gives life to the instrument.
Nanticoke Indian Associationâ€™s 40th Nanticoke Indian Powwow will be held Sept. 9-10 on the powwow grounds east of Millsboro off SR 24.
The powwow, which traditionally draws Native American tribes from the region and beyond, features dance sessions, worship services, numerous American Indian arts, crafts, clothing and food vendors and storytelling.
For more information, call the Nanticoke Indian Center at 945-3400 or the Nanticoke Museum at 945-7022, Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at email@example.com
Last edited by sschkaak (Jun-26-2017 09:41:pm)