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Tribe Will Present DNA 2000, March 4-5 At Eckerd College

By Peter B. Gallagher

ST. PETERSBURG - For the second straight year, prestigious Eckerd College will host the Seminole Tribe of Florida's Discover Native America Powwow and American Indian Festival on the shore of Boca Ciega Bay in Southern Pinellas County, the Seminole Tribune has learned.

A contract, signed recently by Eckerd President Peter Armacost and Seminole Tribal Chairman James Billie, sets Saturday and Sunday, March 4-5, 2000 as the dates for the event. The City of St. Petersburg will co-sponsor the festival.

Last year's powwow/festival attracted more than 20,000 visitors over the weekend to the Eckerd campus, where Chairman Billie has constructed an old-style Seminole Village. Over 100 Tribes were represented among Indians who traveled to St. Petersburg from across the Americas. The event also included an American Indian Film Festival and a yearlong series of speakers sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council.

In addition to a full-scale powwow dance and drum competition, several stages of American Indian musical entertainment, living Seminole village, a marketplace and a children's' village, this year's event will also include the national film festival. Plans are also being discussed to honor Seminole artist Noah Billie with a large-scale display show of his paintings.

"We had such a great time here at Eckerd College last year, we decided to come back again," said Seminole Tribal Chairman James Billie, who will perform with his band on Saturday and Sunday. "It's a great place for a show. The people at Eckerd really make the Indians feel welcome."

"We are very pleased the festival is going to be on our campus," said Eckerd Dean of Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs Lloyd Chapin. "This is a great partnership between the Seminole Tribe and Eckerd College to help increase community awareness of the Native American culture. We are very grateful to the Seminole Tribe for playing a leadership role in making this all possible."

While many of the details for the event will be worked out over the next two months, a staff is already at work on the festival and an 800-number has been established (800-535-2228). Nancy Motlow will once again handle the vendors, and can be reached by calling 941-860-0380. Otto Masecki (941-471-6464) will direct the Powwow. Pete Gallagher of Seminole Communications will be the event producer (727-480-9445) and handle the musical entertainment.

Eckerd Professors Dr. Catherine Griggs and Dr. Carolyn Johnston will coordinate the film festival. They can be reached at the College phone number (727-867-1166). Michelle Simoneau (727-525-6041) will serve as event coordinator. Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum (941-902-1113) will sponsor the living Seminole village.

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