State of the Tribe, 2019

I hope this update finds everyone happy, healthy and safe. I have had several people inquire about Turtle Tracks. I am flattered our publication means so much too so many people. Thank you. That warms my heart. My apologies to each and every one of you for not providing it to you. I have been extremely busy and that was one of the things I let slide. My intention is to bring Turtle Tracks back. I cannot promise when. Our festival planning is in full swing right now. So I know it will not happen before festival. However, I would like to share with you some of the goings-on with the tribe. We have had a lot of exciting things happening.

We hold our tribal meetings every other Thursday. The Hyatt Regency-Chesapeake, Cambridge, MD has been most gracious in allowing us to use a training room to hold our meetings. Thank you Hyatt and Holly for facilitating this arrangement. Our meetings start promptly at 6:30 P.M. Our meetings are open to the public and any tribe member. They are not exclusively “Council” meetings. If there is anything that is restricted to the council only, a closed session will be called to order at the end of the regular meeting or at a later date. Everyone is welcome and we hope to see you soon. Attached is a copy of our meeting schedule.

In June 2018, the long house was listed on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks. Dr. Jeff Kirwan prepared the application. He invested a lot of time and hard work. There were interviews conducted, phone calls made, and lots of research, effort and patience. But it happened. Thank you, Jeff. The long house is now on the Historic Registry at the state and national levels. How exciting and what an accomplishment!

A grant writer from Fruitland, MD has graciously helped us get funding. We are just over our halfway mark in our fundraising for a new roof on the long house. Thank you, Mann & Mann Grant Writing Services. So, let me back track a bit here. We are having electricity installed in the long house. The electricity was two-thirds complete when it was discovered a rotten spot of wood on the Greenbrier side of the building. The rotten spot was caused by a leaky roof. Once the roof is replaced, the rotten wood will be replaced and the installation of electricity will be completed. From that we will move forward with other things. So far, all our money has come from private donations. Though there is plenty of grant money available, we would like to keep everything private. Once government money is used, there will be guidelines to follow. Right now, since there is no mortgage and our donations have been private, we can do whatever we want to the building. I like that idea.

The tribe had an election for a new council in 2018. Let me introduce you to your new council. Your Vice-chairman is Jerry “Gentle Bear” Hughes. Your Secretary is Katie “Dancing Dove” Lipsius. Other councilmen/women are; Elder Windsor “Walks With Out Sound” Meyer, Elder Steve “Morning Crow” Abbott, Eva “White Raven” Bartrum, Brenda “Morning Marsh Woman” Abbott. Your new council has lots of great ideas and seem determined to follow through with them. If you have any ideas of what you would like to see your tribe do or be, please stop by a meeting and share your thoughts and ideas. We would love to hear them. 

The Nause-Waiwash is on social media. Your social media administrator is Jerry “Gentle Bear” Hughes. We are on Face book, Instagram and Twitter. Just search @TheNWBI on either platform. Jerry has done a phenomenal job with our social media. We have had inquiries from people wanting to know who maintains our social media pages. Doctors, administrators and executives are wanting to know who maintains our pages. Gentle Bear has even had a job offer to this. I am proud of him and his work and feel we are very lucky to have him. Let’s show him how grateful we are that he does our social media. :0). On face book we have gone from 600 followers in September 2018 to 1000 today. As a matter of fact, we reached 1000 followers on July 22, 2019. Once we reached 1000 followers we had a random drawing. The winner receives a gift basket valued at $150. Congratulations go to winner Jennifer Baird Davis of Poquoson, Virginia! Jennifer is our lucky winner. We are thinking of our next great give-a-way. Keep up with our social media platforms for more details.

As many of you know, I had been appointed the representing commissioner for the Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians at Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs. My term will be ending soon. Your new commissioner will be tribe member and former tribal councilman, Hubert F. Brohawn III. I promise, I will be departing this seat and leaving you well represented. After discussing with Hugh, I believe he is the best fit and will do an excellent job for you.

The Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians, Inc. has decided to publish a pictorial of our tribal history. No one’s personal history will be published. It will be a book of just pictures with captions. The compilation of this book has been completed and publication is in the works. We worked very hard on this book and are extremely proud of it as I know you will be, too. We are hoping to have it ready for retail sale at the festival. If not, definitely by Christmas.

In March of 2019, we hosted our fourth successful Bingo fundraiser. We had been bingoing designer handbags. This year we bingoed designer bags as well as outdoorsy stuff; tents, ammunition, fishing rod, etc. Our jackpot prize was a cooler packed with goodies valued at $625. Congratulations to jackpot winner Elise Jones! Elise made just a few people a little jealous.

Last fall, tribe member, Matt Kirwan who works for Virginia Institute for Marine Sciences- College of William and Mary, was doing research on local marshes. Matt arranged for tribe members of high school and college age to participate in his research. Matt arranged a weekend camping trip for the students which included participation from historian Gary Marshall, Blackwater Refuge and the U.S. Geological Survey. Some points of interest were: a visit to Blackwater Refuge, brief lesson on sein nets and fishing, a boat ride on the Blackwater River, Shorter’s Wharf, Back Garden Creek, Robbins Landing, Abbott Town, Snake Island, Guinea Island, Grogg Point, Chance Island, camp fires and storytelling around the fire. Thank you Matt for including us in your research, thank you to Jerry Hughes for being the fire keeper and everyone who made the weekend happen. Fun! Fun! Fun!

In September 2018, our 26th Annual Native American Festival had to be cancelled due to the impending Hurricane Florence. As it turned out, it was a gorgeous weekend after all. However, I had a decision to make and I still, to this day, stand by my decision. What I would like people to understand, is most of our staff, drum groups, etc. would have had to drive through Florence to get here. I did not want to put anyone’s life in danger. Safety first and always! Secondly, it was the better business decision. Cancelling the event prior to the date, financially was better than to have the event and lose money. Since we had silent auction items, raffles to be drawn, etc. we decided to have a “Retribution” night. Greg and Millie Cusick of Millie’s Road House in Vienna, MD generously loaned us their restaurant to host our event. It was another successful event. We managed to recuperate our losses and all ended well. Thank you Greg and Millie.

This year, the 27th Annual Native American Festival, is scheduled for September 14 & 15, 2019 at the Ball Field in Vienna, MD under the Water Tower. Gates open at 10:00 A.M. both days and Grand Entry is at Noon both days; Featuring host drum group: Red Fire Singers and Drummers, guest drum group: NaMaWoChi, (just a bit of trivia for you; NaMaWoChi is an acronym for Native Man Woman and Child.) head male and female dancers: Marcos and Dorothy Almanza, arena director: Steve Miller, educator/historian: Rie Miller, flutist: Jerry Smith, storytelling by: C.J. Cole, Raven’s Wing Gang Sleigh Dogs and a special guest performance by: the Aztec Fire Dancers. It has not been confirmed yet but, it is in the works to have Talbot Special Riders, Spot the Leopard Appaloosa and a group of Alpacas. Stay tuned for final details. We are always looking for volunteers, baked goods and silent/live auction items. Attached is a festival flyer.
Brenda “Morning Marsh Woman” Abbott, Jerry “Gentle Bear” Hughes and myself have taken our next generation muskrat trapping. We have had people from less than two years to adult ages join in the excitement. Muskrat trapping is a dying art. We are trying to keep our traditions and culture alive. Thank you Morning Marsh Woman and Gentle Bear.

It seems to me, there is so much more I need to share. For now, I will end this update here and do my best to keep you updated and get Turtle Tracks back in circulation. Thank you and pleasant journeys to All.

Chief Donna “Wolf Mother” Abbott