On Saturday, Calvin and I attended the annual Monacan Powwow held at the foot of Bear Mountain in nearby Amherst County. This has been the Monacans' ancestral home for over 10,000 years.
We have a great fondness for mountains and therefore enjoyed the natural beauty of the scenery. Little shops were set up where one could temporarily step out of the bright sun to look at and touch items made by various Native tribes. Buffalo bugers and chili were sold by vendors. The distinctive Native drum beat could be heard, and chills went up our spines as a Delaware Indian played haunting lyrical music on his flute. We watched dancers in their beautiful regalia enter the dance circle and proudly dance. It was their time to shine--and shine, they did. They were adorned with deerskin, feathers, beads, bells, and animal teeth
A pleasant memory returned of the first time I'd seen a powwow. My grandson, Ryan, was a year old and his grammy Grace, dressed in her Mi'kmaq regalia took him in the circle for his first trip around the sacred ring. His pale chubby cheeks (no doubt from his German ancestry) jiggled as she slowly and proudly took him around the circle on her arm. Little Bear she called him--and still does although he's growing so quickly.
Calvin's mother had Native ancestry. Oleatha (an Indian name) was born in Big Island, a beautifully serene mountain area outside Lynchburg. In talking with a man on Saturday, who has written several books on Native heritage, Calvin learned that the White surname was used by the Tutalos, a sub-group of the Monacans who lived in the Big Island area; his mother's maiden name was White. She told me once about her mother's love of the mountains and how she spent hours in them, gathering herbs and plants for medicinal purposes, both for her own use and to sell.
Learning more about our roots gives us that important sense of family and tradition. Most of my ancestors were German. I am the 8th generation of Nicholas Seilheimer, who served in George Washington's personal guard, fighting in the Revolution, thus qualifying me for the DAR should I ever care to join. What interesting people do your roots lead you to?