Monday, August 25, 2008

Mashantucket Pequot Schemitzun 2008

By Ken Davison
Feather News

Last week's four-day Schemitzun Festival - which ended yesterday - on a farm off Wintechog Hill Road in North Stonington was the first I've been to since about ten years ago when the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe held the event in the Hartford Civic Center.

The Feast of Green Corn and Dance is a time to celebrate the riches of the land and to reap the rewards of a seaon of hard work, according to the Schemitzun program. "Native peoples across North America traditionally celebrated through powwows with songs, dancing, games, prayer and foods made from the newly-ripended corn."

"In the past year, all of us have been faced with difficulties and istabilities. It is important for all of us to recall the many blessings we continue to enjoy," according to the program's welcoming message.

Pictures of the festival are posted below this article.

The first person I saw when we pulled in was one of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe's attorneys directing patrons to parking spaces.

A woodland village was built at Schemitzun, recreating an indigenous native village was on exhibit to educate the public on Eastern Woodland culture and traditions. Brenda Hill, a Tuscarora Indian and master potter, made each pot by hand from clays of New England. Demonstrators from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and other New England tribes also made beads of wampum, taught ancient fire-making techniques, made a canoe and cooked clams, other seafood and seaweed.

Many Pequots were forcibly sold into slavery after the Pequot War of 1636-1637 and after King Phillips War (1675-1676). The Mashantucket's welcomed descendants from those Pequots sold into slavery and whom travelled from Bermuda to Schemitzun this year. The Tribe is actively researching ancestral lines and records of Pequots sold into slavery. The flag for St. Davids, Bermuda was placed next to the flags of the U.S., the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Missing in Action-Prisoner of War flags.

No incidents were reported except for a Sunday night fire caused by gas that leaked from a propane tank inside a food vendor's booth. One man was badly burned and two others were injured, according to reports.