2018 Sunshine State Pow Wow

The Native Sons and Daughters Timucuan Longhouse of Jacksonville traveled to Forever Florida in St. Cloud, FL to participate in the 2018 Sunshine State Pow Wow.

This annual event sees tribes travel from as far away as Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Hollywood, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Winter Garden, Cape Canaveral, Ponte Vedra Beach and of course, Jacksonville. Held annually, each of the member groups gather to demonstrate crafts, banners, Native American regalia, coup sticks, drums, tribal shirts and a host of individual items that specific children have assisted in creating. As one father stated, “I can’t believe how many different types of crafts other tribes have come up with. This gives our tribe a host of options moving forward. Thanks for sharing.”

This year’s event was hosted by the Seminole Princess Nation out of Broward County. More than 700 hundred members from around the state joined us for the event. This year’s Pow Wow took on a very special meaning as the Chairman of the Board of Elders, Don Bittala (Brave Eagle), The National Assistant Chief, Mike Ryan (Wild Eagle) and the State Chief of Florida, Brian Quirk (Flaming Arrow) were all in attendance. The campers were granted beautiful weather by the Great Spirit except waking up to frost on Friday morning. Some of the entertainment at this year’s Pow Wow included; Jimmy Sawgrass, Chief Rawley Snake Trainer, Zip lines, Horse Back Riding, a slime station, bounce houses, the mounted sheriff’s patrol and even a midnight rendition of dad’s kickball.

State Pow Wow Chief (Victor Nappe) summed up the event best by stating, “We wanted to put on an epic Pow Wow for the children, one they will talk about with their friends once they get back home.” First year attendees, Ian and Sean Weldon from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL stated, “Our kids are having a blast, the variety of entertainment and activities is outstanding.”

Some of the children have been to 10 or more State Pow Wows. When asked why they keep coming back one stated, “I always like to see which new events the dads choose to include during the weekend and it’s the one time I can spend just with my dad, creating memories for a lifetime.” The furthest traveled was once again won by Andrew “Eagle Feather” Stainsby (he flew in from Asheville, NC).

This organization was developed to help strengthen family relationships between fathers and children. Each Nation or Longhouse experience enables father and child to have fun while sharing new adventures.

As the parent of a young child, you have the tremendous opportunity to get to know your child. Spending quality one-on-one time with your child will help build a strong bond of trust and memories that will last a lifetime.

As the Great Spirit reminds us, “You only have 18 summers to make a difference in your child’s life.”

Next year’s event will be hosted by the Canaveral Nation out of Cape Canaveral.

Brian “Flaming Arrow” Quirk