Besides being the month of traditional celebration where Native Americans saved English settlers in the northern settlements of America from starvation, November also happens to be Native American Heritage Month. Originally set aside for the observance of celebrating all things Native American in 1990, the month has been dedicated to same by a resolution of Congress each year since. There are all kinds of tribal events occurring across the U. S. during the month, and there is no exception in South Carolina.
The State reported Oct. 29 that, kicking off Native American Heritage Month 2014 in eastern S. C. is the 22nd Annual Arts Festival & Pauwau of the Waccamaw Indian People. Held in Aynor in Horry County, the two-day event begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, and is highlighted by two Grand Entries, the first at 1 p.m. and the last at 6 p.m. For those not in the know, the Grand Entries are a traditional parade of Native Americans of all tribes in attendance, moving in traditional dance patterns and outfitted in their full regalia.
The Waccamaw Pauwau is just one of many events in the state that celebrate the culture, history, and heritage of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. There are several events scheduled throughout the month in various parts of the state.
For instance, the Archaeological Society of South Carolina will host Archaeology Field Day at Greenville in the western corner of the state. Held at Croft Part from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15, the free event is scheduled to include Indian artifact identification, and stone tool-making. There will also be Catawba pottery demonstrations and traditional Cherokee dancers.
The same day, the annual Harvest Celebration of the Cherokee Indian Tribe of S. C. will be held in nearby Pickens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Native American Awarness Day will be observed at the State House in Columbia. The official ceremony begins at noon and will last until 2 p.m.
The University of South Carolina Lancaster will also celebrate Native Americans through the opening of four galleries at the Native American Studies Center. These will be open throughout the month of November, as will be the McKissick Museum’s exhibit “Traditions, Change and Celebration,” which is the first ever museum exhibit curated by a S.C. Native American. All exhibitions are free.
According to the official website for Native American Heritage Month set up by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs, the month dedicated to observing the culture and contributions of Native Americans began as a single day of recognition observed by the Boy Scouts of America, which had set aside a day to annually recognize the contributions of “First Americans.” Their observances lasted three years before the 1915 Congress of the American Indian Association’s annual meeting in Lawrence, Kansas, formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day, setting aside the second Saturday of May as American Indian Day. But it would not be until 1990 that President George H. W. Bush signed a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.”
For those headed to the 22nd Annual Arts Festival & Pauwau on Saturday, November 1 and Sunday, November 2, the event will be held at the Tribal Grounds at 591 Bluewater Road in Aynor, S. C., just off of Highway 501. Gates open at 11 a.m. on both days.