Virginia Indians are presenting a traditional harvest festival Oct. 30 – Nov.1 at the Clarke County Fairgrounds in Berryville, Va. called “The Gathering.” Many locals are already catching the spirit of “The Gathering,” with behind the scenes events.
Kim Ragland at Boyd’s Nest Restaurant actually planted the food (corn, beans and squash), to grow and feed Three Sisters Stew to the Indian dancers and elders. Ragland also learned to make Indian fry bread and plans to serve up samples during the Farmers Market on Oct. 17. In addition, on Oct. 17, the Barns of Rose Hill offers a spectacular Native American trio featuring Native American matinee with icon Dennis Banks, Three Sisters Art Challenge artist’s reception and Dark Water Rising live rocky soul concert.
WHO ARE VIRGINIA INDIANS? Virginia Indian history dates back more than 10,000 years with a history rich and written on the hearts and in the minds of their descendants who are now the keepers of the culture and teachers of a way of life. Local couple Chris and Rene’ White with Sanctuary on the Trail™ found a Paleo-Indian site in Clarke County with artifacts that dated last used 10,470 years ago. The local Holy Cross Abbey at Cool Springs Farm has Indian artifacts crafted continually between 10,500 to 300 years before present.
How do Native Americans create artifacts? Why are corn, beans and squash so significant to Native Americans? Why are sharing, storytelling, dance and song so important? Do Native Americans still hold onto these principles of life? Do they self-identify as Indians? Come to “The Gathering” to learn more. Share in the experience of Native American culture that is alive and flourishing, with a people rich in the knowledge of their ancestral lands and cultural expressions. We are still here!
Meanwhile, in the book titled, “The Virginia Indian Heritage Trail” edited by Karenne Wood, readers will gain insight to life, history and culture as Woods enlightens the readers through her educational and insightful sharing of Virginia’s Indian history. Downloadable copies are available at www.HarvestGathering.org.
Before Christopher Columbus and John Smith, tribes were part of the original peoples or inhabitants of what is known today as Virginia. Due to war and forced relocation and diseases, some, once eastern and Virginia tribes, are now located in the Carolinas and as far as Oklahoma and all states in between. These include: Catawaba tribe, Cherokee tribe, Croatoan tribe, Powhatan Confederacy, Tuscarora tribe, Tutelo and Saponi tribes and Yuchi tribe. Many are extinct.
In Virginia, despite the Indian Removals of the 1800’s, eugenics of Dr. Walter Pleckor that lasted until 1946, and absence of federal recognition, 11 Native Tribes still live and thrive here in Virginia; along with countless other indigenous individuals from across the Americas who call Virginia and Clarke County home. The 11 Virginia Indian Tribes are:
- Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Tribe “People at the Fork of the Stream”
- Chickahominy Tribe (Coarse-Pounded Corn People)
- Eastern Chickahominy Tribe
- Mattaponi Tribe
- Monacan Indian Nation
- Nansemond Tribe
- Nottoway Tribe
- Pamunkey Tribe
- Patawomeck Tribe (Potomac)
- Rappahannock Tribe “Where the Tide Ebbs and flows”
- Upper Mattaponi Tribe (Through 18th and 19th centuries, they were known as the Adamstown Band due to many tribal citizens with the surname Adams.)
Click for more information on these tribes.
Virginia Joint Resolution 54
“The Gathering” is for everyone. Join in this new and elevated spirit of Thanksgiving and humanity in which you participate in new possibilities of community.
Folks from all over are invited to “The Gathering” to join the Indian harvest dance, 14th annual Virginia gourd festival, kidz harvest fest, three sisters art challenge and more.
Visit the rich history and rural beauty of this charming Blue Ridge Mountain and Shenandoah Valley landscape.
Clarke County is an oasis for the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia traveler. Just 60 miles west of Washington, DC, 12 miles from Hollywood Casino and Race Track and 16 miles from historic Harpers Ferry, Clarke County is now home to “The Gathering.”
Advance tickets for “The Gathering” are on sale at various locations around town.
The Gathering is Hosted by the non-profit federally recognized Sanctuary on the Trail™ in partnership with the with the support of the Red Road Foundation™, Nowa Cumig Institute™, and Clarke County Parks and Recreation.
Until “The Gathering,” we hear the heartbeat of the drum, calling each of us home to the circle in which we are all one. Each beat echos in our hearts and invokes our spirit. Our ancestors sing out to us, their voices riding on the wind. “Do not forget.” We are still here.
About the Author: A’lice Myers-Hall is a volunteer for “The Gathering” and the female Shawnee and Lenape Native American Indian featured on “The Gathering” banners and web site.