Photo Report: 2011 Annual Bermuda Pow Wow

June 19, 2011

Centuries old traditions blended with elements of the modern world at St. David’s Cricket Club this weekend [June 18/19], as the St. David’s Islanders and Native Community hosted their Annual Bermuda Pow Wow. Ties between Native American tribes and their Bermuda compatriots first began to be celebrated at Reconnection Festivals in 2002.

Both days began with the ‘Grand Entry’, during which filming was not permitted due to the symbolic nature. The flag bearers entered the ‘Dance Arbour’ first, and dozens of dancers - compromising visitors, locals and Gombeys – followed, all decked out in full regalia.

The MCs explained that rather then being considered a ‘costume’, the attire should be called ‘regalia’. Often pieces of the regalia are family heirlooms, and the feathers in particular are highly valued and cared for.

Two people carrying the Bermuda flag and the flag of the St David’s Islanders and Native Community lead the way, and five other people followed behind carrying flags of the visiting tribes, including the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation and the Blackfeet Nation of Pikuni. They walked slowly in a circle, before the flag bearers stopped in the center facing a small fire.

Bermuda Pow Wow St David's Islanders and Native Community June 18 2011 -1-10

This year the Pow Wow was dedicated to the memory of Alice Lopez, who collapsed at her home in Mashpee, Massachussetts in January of this year and died soon afterwards.

Ms Lopez was a proponent of the ties between St David’s Islanders and the Native Americans, and had been visiting Bermuda for the past few years participating in the annual Pow Wows. Her family flew into Bermuda for this Pow Wow and said it was a very “healing” experience.

Bermuda Pow Wow St David's Islanders and Native Community June 18 2011 -1-6

“She enjoyed socialising and celebrating life and was well known, well respected and well loved by many both within the tribe and the wider community,” said Ms Lopez’s obituary posted by a Mashpee funeral home.

“She especially enjoyed annual trips to St. David’s Island in Bermuda where she attended Pow wows held by the descendents of Wampanoag sold into slavery there after King Philip’s War in the 17th century.”

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“Alice believed strongly in the tribal connection and was instrumental in helping the St. David’s descendents learn traditional songs and dances and made many friends in their community.”

Ms Lopez — usually adorned in traditional Wampanoag regalia – had been a familiar figure in Bermuda since 2002, when ties between the Native American tribe and their St. David’s kinsman first began to be celebrated at Reconnection Festivals.

On the first day of the Pow Wow [June 18] a ceremony was held that saw flowers and wreaths thrown in the ocean in memory of loved ones.

Bermuda Pow Wow St David's Islanders and Native Community June 18 2011 -1

One of the oldest visitors to make the trek to Bermuda was Vernon ‘Silent Drum’ Lopez, one of the traditional leaders of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. Mr Lopez, who looked considerably younger than his years, celebrated his 89th birthday three days ago.

‘Powwow Princess’ Kiona Anderson also traveled to Bermuda. Like Mr Lopez, she is a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. Named ‘Princess’ at the 2010 Pow Wow, she has attended numerous powwows and plans on attending the Gathering of Nations, which is the largest Pow Wow in the United States which sees over 500 tribes from around the United States and Canada travel to New Mexico to participate.

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Telena Murphy, Vice Chair of the St. David’s Islanders and Native Community, and Earl ‘Chieftie’ Mills Jr served as Master of Ceremonies over the two days. Those in attendance included Premier Paula Cox, Opposition Leader John Barritt, area MP Lovitta Foggo, Transport Minister Terry Lister, National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief, Business & Tourism Minister Patrice Minors and Acting Governor David Arkley. You can view videos of the Pow Wow here.

Photos by Only the Best, click to enlarge:

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Articles that link to this one:

  1. Videos: St David’s Pow Wow Festival | Bernews.com | April 1, 2013
  1. Ronnie Chameau says:

    The photos are awesome BIG THANK YOU

  2. Cleancut says:

    WOW! A couple of you guys look like you could pass an audition in Hollywood for a part. what an amazing resemblance. Thank You my People!

  3. freddyg says:

    PROUD TO BERMUDIAN AND A ST’ DAVID’S ISLANDER !!!!

  4. J. says:

    How fabulous is this! Another avenue for the people of Bermuda to invetigate their heritage. Something else to be proud of…………….

  5. Cee "Sun Shines On Face" Edwards says:

    I want to thank the people of Bermuda for their gracious hospitality. Attending this Pow Wow was my first trip to this lovely island and I was greeted and treated like royalty while I was there.

    It was my great honor to play my flute during the Libation ceremonial walk to the sea. My heart is filled with gratitude for this blessing. I will carry these wonderful memories with me and hope that I am blessed to return to your beautiful Bermuda. Waddo and A-ho

    • Vynton Astwood says:

      Your first visit was for a purpose.We were fortunate that you brought your flute, and was able to bless the libation ceremony with such beautiful music. On behalf off the committe I would like to “Thank You’. Looking forward to seeing you again.

  6. Ronnie Chameau says:

    WE “THE ST.DAVID’S ISLANDERS AND NATIVE COMMUNITY” WANT TO THANK YOU ALL WHO ATTENED THE POW WOW, AND IF ANY OF YOU HAVE KNOWLEDGE OF HAVING NATIVE CONNECTIONS
    PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTECT US, ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE. COME AND BE A PART OF OUR NEXT POW WOW 2013.

    RONNIE