Keep Reading. Subscribe Today.

Stay connected with our community and support nationally-acclaimed local news coverage. Sign up for a subscription today. Cancel anytime.

  • Already a subscriber?

Sumter Tribe of Cheraw Indians present 4th festival

BY IVY MOORE
Features contributor
Posted 11/6/19

The annual celebration of the culture of the Sumter Tribe of Cheraw Indians will offer entertaining and educational activities for the entire family during the tribe's fourth Native American Indian Festival. The 11 a.m.-to-3 p.m. event will be …

This item is available in full to subscribers

Sumter Tribe of Cheraw Indians present 4th festival

Posted

The annual celebration of the culture of the Sumter Tribe of Cheraw Indians will offer entertaining and educational activities for the entire family during the tribe's fourth Native American Indian Festival. The 11 a.m.-to-3 p.m. event will be presented at the Sumter County Museum on Saturday.

Karen Hudson, a member of the tribal council, said the tribe will present an overview of Native American culture through demonstrations, exhibits and interaction between guests and Sumter tribe members. As has become customary, the festival will begin with a prayer and a smudging by Cheraw Indians Chief George Truesdale. The traditional smudging comprises the burning of dried sage, the purpose of which is to clear the festival of any evil spirits.

"Tribe member Hodalee C.S. Scott Sewell will perform a Native American stick ball demonstration," Hudson said, noting that "Hodalee has written several books that can be found on Amazon and writes broadly on aspects of identity and more specifically the intersectionality of mainstream American and historical 'racial isolate' communities of the eastern United States."

Sewell has also served as chairman of the Annual Indian Communities Conference in Blountstown, Florida, since 1996.

Hudson said the Edisto River Singers will return to perform traditional drumming and dancing, dressed in the full regalia of the tribe. They will also invite Sumter tribe members and festival guests to join them in a friendship dance.

Other activities include face painting for children, lessons in Native American crafting and more. Native American jewelry, crafts and other items will be available for purchase. Refreshments will be available for purchase, as well. In addition, there will be raffles for Native American gift items.

"The festival has been very successful for the past three years," Hudson said. "Our purpose in presenting it is to make the community aware that we are actually a tribe. There are about 360 of us in and around Sumter."

The Sumter Tribe of Cheraw Indians was officially recognized by the state of South Carolina in 2013, after extensive research. Their native heritage was established back to the 1700s through the S.C. Department of Minority Affairs. Previously, there were several theories about tribe members' origins. Many of the tribe thought themselves to be of Turkish heritage.

Several tables of artifacts from the tribe will be on display during the festival, and visitors will be able to read the state's 2013 proclamation officially recognizing the Sumter Tribe. They will also be able to talk with tribe members, including Chief Truesdale, about the tribe's heritage and history.

Admission to Saturday's 11 a.m.-to-3 p.m. Native American Festival, sponsored by the Sumter County Cultural Commission and BD is free to the public. The festival will be presented in the Sumter County Museum's Carolina Backcountry, 122 N. Washington St.