Vincent Schilling
Fancy shawl dancer

Record 12,000 Climb Mt. Trashmore to Pow Wow: Photos, Video

Vincent Schilling
May 01, 2013

Celebrating its lucky 13th year, the Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation’s American Indian Powwow held a record-breaking day this Saturday, April 27, with approximately 12,000 attendees. The city of Virginia Beach calls the event a Celebration of Life for All People, and holds it in beautiful Mt. Trashmore Park (related story: Once a Trash Heap, Now Pow Wow Central)

(Vincent Schilling)

Clark Stewart, Chickahominy, who has served as the master of ceremonies all 13 years says the Virginia Beach American Indian Powwow continues to grow in popularity and has always held a special place in his heart.

“Every year gets bigger and bigger. The word keeps getting out and people continue to come. People are always saying how excited they are for this powwow and can’t wait for it,” says Stewart. “It can’t get any better than this, I love emceeing this powwow, it is great and it is an honor.”

(Vincent Schilling)

Debbie Vick, who works as Recreation Specialist I at the city of Virginia Beach and is the primary coordinator of the event, said this year drew the biggest crowd they had ever seen.

“This year has been amazing and we’ve seen about 12,000 people. We are growing and next year we are going to need a lot more food vendors. I actually think we are going to need to bring an ATM at this site because a lot of people have been asking. It’s been that busy,” said Vick. 

(Vincent Schilling)

Bruce “Little Drummer” Morris, a Nanticoke-Lenni Lenape tribal member and 30-year veteran dancer came from Dover, Delaware, and commented on the success of the day.

“Keith Anderson (a co-event coordinator) has been asking for me to come out here for the past four years and I have finally come out here to dance.  I came today and the weather was perfect and the Creator was here. I am coming back next year,” said Morris.

“They said they’ve never seen a crowd like this. I think because the weather was great and because the power of the Creator was here and he brought the people here. I think people have been stressed with what has happened around the world and in Boston. These were all prayer dances for all these people today,” said Morris. “I think the Creator heard our prayers.”

(For more video, click here.)

Among the attendees of the days celebration was radio personality Kevin Kennedy from the popular Hampton Roads morning show Movin 107.7 FM. According to Kennedy, who had never before attended a pow wow, the day was filled with learning about American Indian customs.

 “I’ve never been to something like this before. I have been here a good part of the day. To see the culture and history which is so rich, it is amazing. Just to see this come alive is just, as I said, amazing. I have never seen anything like this,” said Kennedy.

“Maybe I've seen this on TV or I have read about it, but to actually see this come alive, right here in person, wow. I have never seen this anywhere, ever.  I absolutely love this. I hope this doesn't throw people off, but I would love to go out there and participate,” he said.

"I am not a good dancer,” says Kennedy, "but I think I could get into this.”

(Vincent Schilling)

For this year’s event, the MC was Clark Stewart, Chickahominy;  the Arena Director was Chief Thomas "Two Feathers" Lewis,  Meherrin-Chowanoke Nation; the Head Male Dancer was Mavrick Wallace, Creek;  the Head Female Dancer was Jesse Wallace, Creek; the Host Drum was the Stumpton Singers of Richmond, Virginia, and the Guest Drums were the Red Blanket Singers from Bridgeton, New Jersey and the Full Circle Singers from Chesapeake, Virginia.

Stumptown Singers (Vincent Schilling)

The American Indian Powwow is an annual event put on by the Virginia Beach Department of Parks and Recreation. For more information visit

(Vincent Schilling)
(Vincent Schilling)
(Vincent Schilling)
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(Vincent Schilling)



LynY164's picture
Submitted by LynY164 on

I remember the beginnings of this Pow Wow! My daughter was lead female dancer one year. Wish I could have been there for this. I know the Man who started this would be very happy.

Submitted by JENNY BARROWS on

All the Regalia, wisdom, strength, knowledge & pride...yet there is nothing more precious as when our young are involved in their ancestry. Whenever I see this my heart swells with pride! I also LOVE the Jingle dresses.

Teri Swaim's picture
Teri Swaim
Submitted by Teri Swaim on

Thank you so much for your post of your work, I hope everyone from NA really comes in and see's the videos...Beautiful...and that big guy can dance up a storm...And it really made me happy to see all the non-American Indians love our culture again thank you teri swaim

Beverly Manry's picture
Beverly Manry
Submitted by Beverly Manry on

totally enjoyed the day! --- got some really great photos! i asked a parks & recreation lady if they had a list of tribes participating & she said they didn't. i would very much like to have known which tribes the dancers represented. this was the main thing lacking in my opinion. wonderful weather - nice crowd of people. the drummers/singers were wonderful...