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Pow Wow a hit with residents, visitors

By By James Crawford
News Editor
The Poarch Creek Indians held their 32nd Annual Thanksgiving Pow Wow Thursday and Friday at the Poarch Creek Indian Pow Wow grounds in Atmore. The Tribe hosted visiting dancers from several tribes in two rounds of dance competitions, along with exhibition dancers, traditional and contemporary food and Indian memorabilia vendors.
Rufus Scott, of the Muskogee Creek Nation, served as Master of Ceremonies; Douglas Daughtry, of Poarch Creek, served as Head Man; Rhonda Sylestine Burridge, of the Alabama-Coushatta, served as Head Lady; Lloyd Thompson, of the Alabama-Coushatta, served as Arena Director; and the Medicine Tail singers served as Host Drum.
Dancing exhibitions were given by the Alabama-Coushattas of Alabama, the Tri-Community Dancers of Choctaw, Miss., and the Oklahoma Creek Stomp Dancers, accompanied by Poarch Creek, from Dustin, Okla.
The Tribe also announced the winners of its 2002-2003 princess competition. Each year, the Tribe names three princesses that will represent it at various public functions throughout the upcoming year. Megan Young was named Senior Princess, Brittany Rodriguez was named Junior Princess and Taylor Wiggins was named Elementary Princess.
Poarch Creek Community Relations Director Roy Shiver was very happy with the turnout and the participation. "Every thing went real well. It was a little cool, but the sun came out and warmed us up. I think we had a good day. There was a lot of food, good crafts and great dancers," he said.
Visiting dancers shared the same sentiment as Shiver as they paraded around in their traditional dress while awaiting the start of their individual competitions.
Eric Erickson III and Galen Williams, both of Livingston, Texas, were both excited to compete in the pow wow for the first time. "It's a great event here in the East. I'm honored to be here," Erickson said. Fellow dancer Williams echoed his comments. "It's great, especially having it on Thanksgiving."
A number of visitors had also traveled great distances to attend the event. Chuck Huntley, of Staples, Minn., travels all around the United States visiting pow wows and decided to give Alabama a try.
"I've been to a lot of pow wows," he said. "This is one of the best." The Master of Ceremony recognized Huntley as a veteran, along with a group of others, prior to the start of the dancing competition.
The crowd was treated not only to a dazzling display of song and dance but to a wide variety of freshly cooked food, including the traditional turkey and dressing and more than a dozen vendors who displayed everything from medicine sticks and bows and arrows to jewelry.
One vendor, Sherry Running Water, of Sparta, Tenn., was experiencing the pow wow for the first time. Running Water, who has been operating her business Runningwater Native American for 12 years along with husband Ron, decided to set up shop at the Poarch Creek pow wow.
"It's my first time here," she said. "The pow wow is excellent. The people are very nice and we're having a good day. We're selling quite a bit. We will definitely be back next year."