Native American festival to bring culture, awareness

For the past two years, Camp Kanawahala’s Girl Scouts have been invited to take part in Native American culture. This year, for the first time, the Honor the Children American Indian Festival will be open to the public as well.

The camp will host the third annual Honor the Children Festival Sept. 19-21. The festival is sponsored by the American Indian Scouting Association, which works with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to spread awareness of Native American culture.

Terri Knowles, Camp Kanawahala director, said camp staff hopes the festival will change how some people look at Native Americans.

“People are afraid of things they don’t understand,” she said. “By offering this, maybe they’ll be more open or understanding of people different from themselves.”

The festival also serves as an event to raise donations for the Hawks in the Wind food pantry. Organizers are looking for canned food and children’s toys, Knowles said.

Knowles said she is expecting about 200 people to come to this year’s festival.

The event kicks off Friday evening with a trade blanket, where people will be allowed to lay items down on a blanket and trade for other items. Friday night will go from 7:30 until 10:30, Knowles said, and will have free admission.

Karen Cooper, who works with Hawks in the Wind, said the trade blanket is intended to be about need, not about monetary value.

“I have traded food items for a skillet and blanket, and shells and beads for a completed necklace or jewelry set,” she said. “The basic rules say you cannot step on the blanket if you are female, and you cannot put anything on the blanket that has to be cared for — animals, small children.”

Saturday, the festival will go from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will have two grand entries at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. During a grand entry, Native Americans will walk into the festival dressed in native regalia. On Sunday, the grand entry will be at 1 p.m. and the festival will last from the grand entry until 4 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children under 12.

On Saturday and Sunday, the festival will feature demonstrations of Native American culture such as dancing, flute playing and jewelry making. There will also be arts and crafts for sale and trade.

Many different tribes will be represented, such as Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw.

For more information, contact Knowles at 678-8843.