Every November the Hagood Mill Historic Site observes Native American Heritage Month by holding the Native American Celebration. Every Third Weekend of November we hold this beloved celebration that we also call Selugadu. Selugadu translates into cornbread in the Tsalagi Gawonihisdi (Cherokee) language. Selu, meaning corn and gadu, meaning bread. This celebration of cornbread is in reality a Harvest Festival. November is the time of year when Native Americans reaped the harvest of corn. All across the Americas the first people developed over 250 varieties of corn. Corn was an essential crop in Native American life and came to be in Colonial life as well.
At this time of year Americans Give Thanks. Join us at the Hagood Mill to give thanks to, and honor the first peoples of these lands, for the food traditions and customs that have influenced southern Appalachian life. On Saturday, November 21st we will bring together many people from many tribal groups to share their customs from today and yesteryear at the idyllic Hagood Mill Historic Site.
Saturday’s event kicks off at 10 am and runs until 4 pm. We will have our typical Third Saturday activities, including the operation of the Hagood Mill, living history demonstrations and a cherry picked group of vendors. Visitors and guest performers will participate in the festivities of the day which will include: Native American traditional drumming, singing, dancing, flute playing, storytelling, Cherokee hymns in the Tsalagi Gawonihisdi language, and traditional crafts and demonstrations. Performers include storyteller and basket maker Nancy Basket, from Walhalla, SC; Cherokee singer Amy Sindersine of the Reedy River Inter-tribal Association; The Kau-Ta-Noh-Jrs Society Singers of the Tuscarora Nation, NC with On’yas Locklear, Raniya Locklear and Nawayla Locklear; and Keepers of the Word from South Carolina.
Demonstrations of food-way traditions such as stone grinding of cornmeal, cooking fry-bread, and roasting corn will take place throughout the day. Barry Crawford’s prehistoric cooking demonstration using ancient soapstone bowls is too artful to be missed. Members from the Foothills Archaeology Society will be on site to identify Native American stone tools and artifacts. Be sure to bring your treasure to be identified!
We will be inaugurating “Our Native Roots: An Interpretive Trail” at noon. The interpretive trail takes visitors along the Old Indian Path, which is an ancient trading path that took the Native Americans from the Mississippi coast and up and through the continental divide to Virginia. The interpretive trail includes a dugout out canoe which will be burned during the Native American Celebration, a river cane restoration area, a sacred fire circle for all to experience on this special day, a medicine wheel garden, a corn garden, a mortar and pestle for grinding corn, a prehistoric stone mortar, an archaeology adventure for kids, the Paul West artifact collection, and the petroglyphs that were made in prehistoric times. We are especially grateful to Paul West, who donated his personal collection of Native American artifacts, art and books to the Hagood Mill Foundation, and are now housed in the Hagood Creek Petroglyph Site.
Due to COVID, we are limiting admission to this event. As a result, admission will be $10 per person 13 and up and $5 per child aged 3-12. One of our most popular events of the year, this event is sure to sell out, so get your tickets today.
We will kick off the weekend on Friday, November 20th at the Heritage Pavilion! We have special free programming this year thanks to the Traditional Arts Touring Grant from South Arts. Beginning at 5:30 pm we will have an Artifact Show-and-Tell, in addition to workshops from some of the veteran performers of our Native American Celebration! There will be artifact experts on site helping folks to identify artifacts and to share stories. Nancy Basket will provide an educational workshop highlighting Native American basket making techniques, motifs, and the different types of construction materials which can be used based on one’s demographic location. On’yas Locklear and Ka-Tau-Noh-Jrs Society Singers will be offering song and dance workshops as well. Concessions will be available at 5 pm . Admittance to the Heritage Pavilion will be cut off at 150 people. Please bring PPE and your own chairs and bundle up! Arrive early to ensure your space. Of course observers are welcome to disperse in the fields surrounding the pavilion.
Make a weekend of the event and reserve your camping space as well!
Primitive camping will be available Friday and Saturday nights– $10/person aged 13 and up for one or two nights (tent/car camping) or $30 for RV spaces. Limit 6 people per site. Car and RV spaces are limited, so register online soon. Folks with loud generators will be asked not to use them during special events.
The Native American Celebration is partially funded by South Arts, Pickens County ATAX, and from generous donors like Paul West.
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