Vendors sell wares, share history - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Vendors sell wares, share history

May 16, 2004

Albany- Billy Whitefox says playing music on one of his handcrafted flutes, is singing with the heart.

"Sound is very healing, the laughter of a child, a mother calling the young is soothing. It's something that makes you feel secure," he says.

It's those comforting sounds the he and other Creek Indians say are blown into the air, caught by the wind, and are taken to someone that needs them.

"When the Anglos came into this area they looked at the Natives as a pre-literate society, a people without a written language, when in fact, there was a written language. It was in symbols," explains Shell Carver Dan Townsend.

Symbols that the Creek Indian has been recreating in his artwork for 25 years.

"Where ever the Europeans traveled they brought the beads, and the beads at some point in history became money," says Antique Bead Trader Dan Berkae.

Now, Berkae, an Osage Indian, travels the country selling the unique handcrafted glass beads.

"People that purchase these beads are really wanting to know the history of these beads, so it becomes a more interesting environment for me," he says.

Festivals like the one at Chehaw give these vendors a chance to be educators of Native American History and like Whitefox's music, spread it to others.

Chehaw Park representatives say during the 3-day event more than 10,000 visitors attended the festival.

Posted at 3:50 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com