Storm delays start of powwow


Jacob Hewlin dances during the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe's 2016 Powwow in Hollister.


Staff Writer

Saturday, April 20, 2019

After being rained out Friday, the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe is pushing forward with its annual powwow today in Hollister.

The 54th annual event continues through 6 p.m. Sunday. More than 500 dancers are attending, representing around 50 tribes. The annual powwow marks the tribe’s recognition by the General Assembly in 1965.

The plan is hold the rest of the event today and Sunday, but of course tornado warnings and inclement weather could cause a cancellation, according to representatives of the tribe.

For the second year in a row, Brooke Mills Simpson will perform live at the event. Her concert is set for this afternoon.

“We are thrilled that our tribal member, Brooke, is coming home to celebrate with her family and tribe,” said Chief Dr. Ogletree Richardson. “Last year, her concert was a real treat to our already beautiful powwow.”

Simpson was among the finalists on the television show, “The Voice” two years ago. She has always spoke highly of her culture and her tribe. Her tribal community, in return, held watch parties each week and became her first fans. From the first time Simpson entered the stage of “The Voice,” she has continued to soar in her career. Simpson and her husband Ray have relocated to Los Angeles where she’s had an opportunity to work with many other artists.

While she is touring and sharing her songs with the world, Simpson said there is nothing like coming home to sing in front of her family, friends and tribe.

Along with Simpson’s presence this year, the Northern Drum Group, The Boyz, will be serving as the host drum of the pow-wow. Originally from the St. Paul, Minn., area, The Boyz, also known as TBZ, provide a very unique sound that stems from the different tribal languages of its singers. The group’s music is strong and distinct, with song composers coming from different tribes; each providing a good mix of Ojibwe, Lakota/Dakota, Kickapoo, (Navajo) Diné, HoChunk and Cree songs. TBZ has won many championships across the United States and Canada and said they are very honored to be with the Haliwa-Saponi tribe this year.

The National Congress of American Indian’s 22nd president, Jefferson Keel, will be speaking to the large crowd later today. Keel, from the Chickasaw Nation, will talk about his time with the NCAI as well as offering insight of the issues American Indians face today. Founded in 1944, NCAI is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities.

Fees to enter are $8 per person, $7 for Seniors, 62 and older, and children under 6 will be able to enter free each day. There will also be weekend passes.

The event hosts some of the finest American Indian jewelry, regalia, T-shirts, herbs and food available to purchase. The American Indian dancing and singing, along with Simpson’s concert and Keel’s session will be free of charge once inside the pow wow, which is held on the historic grounds of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School at 130 Haliwa Saponi Trail in Hollister.