Schenectady County

Keepers of the Circle host powwow

D. Salvatore Timberwolf Lamia of Bayport dances for those who have gone before him.

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Categories: Schenectady County

D. Salvatore Timberwolf Lamia of Bayport dances for those who have gone before him.

“It fills me with the spirit of my ancestors and the respect for my ancestors,” said Lamia, who is a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation and Paukatuck Eastern Pequot tribes.

Lamia, who was bare-chested and dressed in full regalia with a headdress, bone necklace, yellow pants and wearing a turtle crest on his arm, led others around a fire pit.

The Keepers of the Circle hosted the two-day event on Saturday and Sunday at their 2.6-acre site on Route 5S, which featured traditional dancing and Native American crafts. Hundreds of people attended.

Lamia said he had fallen away from Native American customs for a long while but returned to his roots in 1990 after moving to Houston and being invited to join an intertribal council. His customs helped get him through a bout with cancer and other health problems, he said.

His health improved to the point where he could compete in track-and-field events at the International World Games in Sydney, Australia. Now he is a master dancer.

The dancing was a family affair for Crystal Marion of Wilton. Her children — 14-year-old Nakia, 11-year-old Anisha and 9-year-old Skye — were all participating. She is from the Abenaki tribe and her husband has Abenaki and Ojibway blood.

“This is our way of trying to teach the kids the culture,” she said.

In addition to dancing, there were also crafts.

Eric Marczak of Knox showed off some handmade flutes and guitars. Marczak has been designing flutes for almost 20 years. He studied the customs of the Navajo flute-making and shared them with other tribes. It has become a lost custom for some tribes.

“I can make a flute in three hours,” he said, adding that does not count the time for glue to dry.

He has opened a guitar and woodworking instrument shop on Jay Street with two other partners.

There was also jewelry for sale. John Sevilla of Clermont, Fla., was showing off handmade opal, black onyx and silver jewelry from the Hopi, Navajo and Zuni tribes. The Navajo like to incorporate a squash blossom pattern in their work.

He said he has been doing powwows for more than 20 years and enjoys meeting people and answering their questions about where the jewelry comes from and how it is made.

Spirit Hawk, a Cherokee from Brookfield, Mass., said she enjoys the spiritual connection to these powwows. “I’m very proud to be what I am,” she said.

Tim Christian, president of the Keepers of the Circle, said this was the second year for the event, but the first year it was part of the official American Indian Pow Wow calendar.

“It brings you closer to Mother Earth and the heart,” he said.

The powwow was also the organization’s major fundraiser for the year.

Christian said the Keepers of the Circle group has new leaders. The group manages the property and the 17th century Bradt farmhouse on Route 5S, where it has made major upgrades, including a new roof and deck.

The group originally had control over the entire 29-acre parcel. Last year, the county agreed to sell the remaining 27 acres to the Schenectady County Historical Society, which wants to build a year-round educational center on the adjacent Mabee Farm.

The festival was made possible from a grant from Schenectady County and sponsorship from the Bank of America.

“The community is starting to open their hearts back up to the Keepers,” he said.

The Keepers also run a food pantry on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Keepers’ property is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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