Columbia County residents will get to explore the region's American Indian heritage and culture at an Intertribal Pow Wow sponsored by the Lower Savannah River Indian Heritage Association.
The pow wow will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Columbia County Fairgrounds on Columbia Road and will last through the evening.
The pow wow will be open to the public and will feature several descendents of the South's American Indian tribes such as Cherokee, PeeDee, Choctaw, Delaware and Muscogee Creek from Alabama, South and North Carolina, Florida and Georgia, said Ray Ireland, an event coordinator.
"You'll have a lot of dancing. The thing a lot of people don't understand about the dances is the dances tell stories," Ireland said. "It is (a large part of the culture).''
The grand entry, a procession of military veterans and emergency responders among others, will bring in a variety of flags and the Eagle Staff and offer several prayers at 1 p.m. daily and again at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
No photographs of any kind can be taken during the ceremony until the colors have been posted and prayers have been offered, Ireland said.
"Some things are so reverent," Ireland said. "You should be involved, engrossed in what's going on. It's such a colorful event and there are no photographs of it."
Booths will be set up for vendors to sell their wares or to demonstrate traditional American Indian trades including silversmiths, arrowhead- and spear-makers, bead crafters and leatherworkers, Ireland said.
One purpose of the event is to inform the public that the association offers opportunities to learn new American Indian crafts during the year and to expose people interested in their culture.
"There will be people there also for genealogy, for those people who are interested in their heritage and how to go about proving their heritage, to help them along the lines," Ireland said.
Daily entry for the event costs $3 for adults and $1 for seniors. Children under 12 get in free. Lawn chairs are welcome and free parking and camping is provided.
American Indian cuisine such as buffalo burgers, roasted corn, tacos and fried bread and other refreshments will be available.
"I promise it will be one of the better things that has happened in the county in a while," Ireland said.
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