The festival begins
As this year’s festival commemorates the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the English settlement at Jamestown, the festivities began, appropriately enough, with a performance by members of Virginia’s First Nations – the Virginia Intertribal Dance Group and Drum – at the Ukrop’s/First Market Stage.
The group is formed from the eight surviving tribes recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia: the Chickahominy Tribe, the Chickahominy Tribe Eastern Division, the Mattoponi Tribe, the Monacan Nation, the Nansemond Tribe, the Pamunkey Tribe, the Rappahannock Tribe, and the Upper Mattaponi Tribe.
The meaning of each dance was explained by Wayne Adkins, second assistant chief of the Chickahominy. The group’s second dance performed by the group was the “Blessing of the Ground.” Traditionally the blessing is offered before dances begin in order to seek the favor of the gods. Usually it involves a handful of leaders who go to the four directions (north, south, east, and west) and sprinkle tobacco or sage on the ground as an offering.
The dance tonight went well, a good omen for the weekend.