An Archive of our past

First Moon of Winter

First Moon of Winter


A gathering of the Pocomoke People and neighboring tribes was held on December 2-3, 1995 to celebrate the coming of wintertime and to hold a Pot Latch.  The two day event began by honoring our ancestors with a “Vigil of the Dead” and “pilgrimage”.  We believe it is important to maintain our heritage by showing respect to our ancestors and their sacred places.

The pilgrimage met at Hance’s Field, near Jenkins’s Creek on Saturday and under the guidance of a chosen elder proceeded to the places where our ancestors were interred.  Ceremonial rites according to tradition occurred at each location.  A pilgrimage of our People to these sacred places is traditional and happens at least once in each coming generation.

On Sunday the event moved to Howard’s Woods on Calvary Road, south of Crisfield.  The weather was especially mild for it being the beginning of the winter season.  A guest drum gave Mother Earth her heart-beat.  Red Jacket led the singing and there was much dancing.  A cooking rack had been fashioned from willow branches and set over a fire surrounded by large stones.  Venison from a recent hunt was cooked and enjoyed by all.  Several archers demonstrated their skills, taking the opportunity to teach the young people this native hunting practice.  Kim Rawley displayed her artifacts and dwelling exhibit.

Leaving Howard’s Woods, everyone crossed the road and met inside Woodson School’s cafeteria for the Pot Latch.  Chief Harold Red Jacket Howard had publically called for a pot latch and challenged all descendants of local Native Americans to show their respect for our ancestors and come together in feast and ceremony.  A special blessing was the attendance of Nanticokes and Native People of other tribes.  A Pot Latch is an event known as a “giving away”.  While the name “Pot Latch” may be associated with distant Native Peoples, it nevertheless is in keeping to our legendary tradition of “tribute” and “sharing and giving to others that all will benefit.”   

Chief Red Jacket gave away much and was reconfirmed as leader and spokesman of the Pocomoke and a trusted representative of the Occohannock People.  After the gifting of material items Red Jacket gave his People “a gift of a leader in waiting.”   By his proclamation and according to our tradition, upon Red Jacket’s passing; the leadership of the Pocomoke descended to his brother, Norris Howard Sr.

Following the Pot Latch ceremony everyone enjoyed the drumming, singing and dancing.  The little ones were treated to story-telling and introduced to fancy dancing by Amy Screaming Eagle Moore.  Inter-tribal folks met in council.   This historic event ended with a round dance. 

Passing leadership

Wigwam constructed at Snow Hill Sept. of 1999

Demonstration of how a dugout was made by the Pocomoke people.

Learning to make garments, an important skill for survival. Children learned early in life to make baskets and clothing.  making garments

This was at Parrahockin. Harold Howard JR organized several meeting there to learn traditional skills. Robert H. Goldsborough displayed his collection of Native American artifacts to the group. His son Alan Goldsborough also shown in pictures is a collector.

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