1990 to 2015: The Clan of the Hawk’s 25 Years of Powwows and Gatherings.
by Chief Spirit Water
This may be the last big annual Gathering for the Clan of the Hawk. After a lot of work, by rather a few stalwart helpers, it all came together for a wonderful weekend on August 1st and 2nd.
Saturday was a great day for all who came, even though it rained part of the day. This didn’t stop anyone and the events went on as planned. We had two drumming groups, with the First Light drummers and Jacques and Denny from Canada. Denny also played the flute, and his beautiful music could be heard at all corners of the camp.
It was a very busy day. George Larrabee and Gail Johnson did a wonderful Abenaki Language presentation in the Sacred Circle. We had the Boy Scout troop with leaders from West Topsham, Vermont. The scouts were great to have visit, and they took part in the flag ceremony and other activities. Our vendors did well, and we had a nice variety. Several members of the Nulhegan group camped out for the weekend.
Nathan Pero and Pat were here from the Koesuck Band, as was Chief White Cloud’s group from Newport. We made many friends from near and far. The Carlson family ran the “Food Shack” and did a super job. Randy worked his heart out all weekend. Gail Ruggles staffed the museum. Many people of all ages enjoyed a cool dip in the Willoughby River throughout the weekend. Mr. Stone Tree was our fire keeper.
We had a host of volunteers to be flag bearers and it made for a very colorful Grand Entry. In the evening, we had our usual Saturday Pot Luck which was open to all. John Avila baked two cakes to celebrate our 25th Anniversary and there was a great array of dishes to be shared. The attendees and members visited with each other and drummed in the evening and it was all very serene and fulfilling.
At the same time, it was a sad day for a lot of people, as they came to realize this might be the last ever Great Gathering for the Clan of the Hawk. It seems as the years have gone by there are fewer and fewer people willing to help put on this kind of event and the work has fallen more and more to Chief and his helper Marvin. I guess that a lot of members have lost interest in keeping their heritage alive, and I guess that is just the way things are.
Sunday day got started with a Church Service in our Non-denominational Chapel, presided over by Bishop Lazarus from Richford, Vermont. He presented a Greek Orthodox service and it was very well attended. It was peaceful and spiritual and all were happy to be able to be part of it.
Soon afterward, I officiated at a Naming Ceremony and I was assisted by Chief Broken Arrow from Bradenton, Florida. Over twenty people received new Native American Names, and were smudged by Justin Deth as they were ‘re-named.” All the Boy Scouts and even their leaders participated. They were pleased to have their new Spiritual Native Names.
Soon after that, I conducted two Abenaki Weddings in the Sacred Circle. One couple was from New Hampshire and the other was from Florida. Both Couples come from Native backgrounds. It was a beautiful service and again, I was assisted by Chief Broken Arrow. Our visitors all gathered around to watch and felt it was a treat to be there for such special ceremonies. The day went on with many people joining in the various activities. The Grand Entry was again a big success. Many visitors camped on the grounds, in the fields and in our camping area in the woods.
At two in the afternoon, we had the Third Annual Pet Parade, and all entrants received a prize on the way out of the circle. The Drummers blessed all the animals. Though two years ago, it was considered a ‘silly’ undertaking, it has become a favorite of our visitors.After several special dances, we served ice cream and cake. Gail Ruggles and Caroline Avila baked cakes for our 25th Anniversary. Both were beautiful and delicious. The cake sure disappeared fast! Not a crumb was left.
At four in the afternoon, we held the drawings for the prize raffle and the 50/50 raffle. The 50/50 was won by James Choiniere. Everyone seemed to have a great weekend and they were all smiling as they left the Clan Grounds.
Big thanks go out to those who helped with this year’s festivities. And special thanks to Randy and Marvin who stayed to clear up after everyone went home.
I am glad it was such a success, but I am also kind of glad it is all over for this year. It has truly been exhausting. Time will tell what happens in the future. Several of the bands are talking about a “merger” of sorts and we at the Clan of the Hawk are certainly in favor of this. A lot of things have to be worked out, but I am sure it can be done, and I hope so. I want to see the interest in Native heritage grow stronger, and not die out. It is only with cooperation and everyone pitching in that this could happen.
Chief Spirit Water