Laurens County, S.C. – Members and guests of the Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation SC will be coming from across and beyond South Carolina this Saturday in celebration of the local tribe’s 16th Annual Pow-Wow, and the public is invited to experience the tribal traditions of the region’s first inhabitants.
“The Pow-Wow will begin at 9 in the morning, and at 6:30 that evening we will take down the flags in the final ceremony,” said Pow-Wow Coordinator Scott Red Otter Gephart.
Guests are encouraged to come for all or part of the event, which will be held at the Tribal Grounds at 3688 Warrior Creek Road near Gray Court, less than 15 minutes from Downtown Laurens.
The cost is free for veterans and children 2 and under, $7 for adults and $3 for children ages 3-17. Cash is requested at the gate where volunteers will direct parking, but other vendors should be able to take cash or cards, Gephart said.
Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation SC Chief Dexter “Yellow Hawk” Sharp has invited chiefs from the lower state Waccamaw, Santee and PeeDee tribes and the Grand Entries on Saturday will be at 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Gephart suggests bringing lawn chairs and enjoying the day, especially during the mid-day portion from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. when many of the social events can include visitors.
Food options will include fry bread and a traditional type of barbecue, and crafters come from a wide spectrum of Native American traditions. There are also raffles and a newly-opened Tribal Craft Store, with most items made by members.
“Native Americans refer to those first inhabitants from the tip of Canada and Alaska to the southern tip of South America,” Gephart said, “so we have sometimes had crafters from an Aztec or Mayan heritage.”
For those who would like to learn more about their own potential Native American heritage, Gephart and other tribal members are experienced in genealogy and can help them begin to determine their own Native American ancestry.
The Pow-Wow is a great place to begin making those contacts, and anyone interested can find Gephart in the orange Pow-Wow Coordinator T-shirt. He can also be reached at 423-494-4255.
This story originally ran page 7 in the Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 issue of The Laurens County Advertiser.