PICKENS — Thousands of people turned up from all over the Upstate to celebrate the Native American Celebration at Hagood Mill on Saturday.
The celebration is hosted in honor of Native American Heritage Month and featured traditional dress, dancing, music as well as a great variety of different tribal groups — some traditionally from the area, others who have made the Upstate their home.
The drums alone could be heard echoing for miles.
Cherokee, Ojibwa, Catawba, Creek and Wassamassaw tribal heritages made up just a portion of the rich diversity present at the mill with many offering demonstrations about ancestral customs and practices such as basket weaving, storytelling and bead work.
Keepers of the Word, a drumming group from Saint George, set the stage, pounding drums and chanting while dancers wowed the crowds in traditional attire with astounding attention to detail.
One woman estimated the amount of bead work alone sewn on her dress represented hundreds of hours of labor.
“I want to invite the dancers back out to the front to show all these people the Crow hop,” said the announcer. “Because everyone knows, a Crow doesn’t walk — he hops.”
Dancers strutted, hopped and fluttered their arms like birds to the beat of the drums as feathers tucked in strands of hair waved about and soft moccasin covered feet twirled in the grass.
The dancing was concluded with a friendship dance in which the natives and pale-faces alike joined hands and circled around and around making ever smaller rings before raising their hands and drawing the circles inward.
The Native American Celebration continues to be one of the most popular events at Hagood Mill which is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10-4 p.m. year round.
For more information on upcoming events at the mill visit www.visitpickenscounty.com.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.