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HOLLISTER, N.C. — The aroma of fry bread and barbeque was in the spring air on Friday night on the powwow grounds of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe in Hollister, North Carolina. There was a festive spirit among families, friends, and fellow tribal community members as the 59th Annual “Blooming of the Dogwood” Haliwa-Saponi Powwow was kicked off for the weekend. For some, it was an opportunity to see family and friends they had not seen for a while.

The Grand Entry got underway with powwow emcee Sandon Jacobs (Waccamaw-Siouan/Lumbee) welcoming the crowd. Several drum groups rotated as hundreds of dancers entered the powwow dance arena.

The powwow is the oldest and largest in the state of North Carolina. 

“On April 15, 1965, the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe received recognition from the state of North Carolina. Fifty-nine years ago, we were a proud nation, and today, we are still a proud nation. As we strive to preserve our tribe's sacred traditional Indian heritage, this 2024 celebration is another milestone in the history of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe,” Chief Dr. B. Ogletree Richardson said.

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Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe Chief Dr. B. Olgetree Richardson 

The tribal community honored the life of Dalton Lynch on Friday night by starting a sacred fire. Lynch passed away unexpectedly in July 2023. He had been an integral part of the tribe's citizenry for decades.  Dalton served as the powwow arena director, head judge, and head dancer, among other positions. Last year, he was the keeper of the bonfire at the Friday night powwow. On Saturday, the two eagle feathers were placed on the tribal eagle staff in his honor.

Honored on Saturday with a traditional dance was Shelby S. Green, who passed away January 15, 2024 from pneumonia. Shelby served as the Haliwa-Saponi tribal princess in 1989. 

The honoring of the two tribal citizens who walked on demonstrated a strong sense of unity about the tribal community.

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Levi Rickert
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Levi "Calm Before the Storm" Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected].