The 13th Roanoke Island American Indian Festival and Powwow is set to take place this weekend at the Manteo High School Athletic Complex from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The highlight of the event will be the grand entry at noon on both days. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets for seating.

Organized by the Algonquian Indians of North Carolina Inc., a nonprofit made up of individuals genealogically descended from the original historic Roanoke-Hatteras, or Croatan, Indians of Dare County, and Mattamuskeet Indians of Hyde County, this festival and powwow will showcase the rich cultural heritage of these tribes.

A special booth at the event will be hosted by the Pea Island Preservation Society Inc., which aims to share the history of Keeper Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island lifesaving station. Etheridge, who was once enslaved on Roanoke Island, made history by becoming the nation’s first African American keeper in the U.S. Life-Saving Service in 1880.

The festival and powwow will serve as a connection between the historic Pea Island lifesaving station and the Algonquin-speaking tribes of the North Carolina coast through familial ties. The society’s president, Darrell Collins, and board members Joan Collins and Frank Hester, are cousins of Marilyn Berry Morrison, chief of the Roanoke-Hatteras Indians and chair of the Algonquian Indians of North Carolina.

Their ancestors, including Joseph Hall Berry, have a long-standing legacy of service in the U.S. Life-Saving Service and U.S. Coast Guard. Berry served at the Pea Island station for 15 years before retiring from the Coast Guard in 1917, leaving behind a remarkable family tradition of 400 combined years of service to the nation.

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