11th Annual Chicone Village Day at Handsell

Dorchester Banner
Posted 4/23/24

CHICONE – The Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance is sponsoring the 11th Annual Chicone Village Day at Handsell on Indiantown Road in Vienna on April 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This event is …

You must be a member to read this story.

Join our family of readers for as little as $5 per month and support local, unbiased journalism.

Already a member? Log in to continue.   Otherwise, follow the link below to join.

Please log in to continue

Log in

11th Annual Chicone Village Day at Handsell


CHICONE – The Nanticoke Historic Preservation Alliance is sponsoring the 11th Annual Chicone Village Day at Handsell on Indiantown Road in Vienna on April 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. This event is designed to honor the history and ancient culture of the Eastern Woodland Native People who inhabited a wide area in the eastern part of what is now the United States including the vastly wooded area of this peninsula.

These included the Algonquian speaking “Nentego” (Nanticokes), the largest tribe on the Eastern Shore, who were part of a matrilineal culture.

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, there were numerous tribes living on the Delmarva peninsula.   John Smith’s 1608 voyage around the rim of the Chesapeake Bay described one of the largest villages, that of “the Emperor” which was in this area of Chicone Creek and north of Vienna.  More research seems to conclude that this site was the “capital” of the Native people of the region. According to his 1672 journal, Quaker leader George Fox visited the “Chief’s” village and found that the native people there “carried themselves very courteously and lovingly, and inquired where the next meeting would be, saying that they would come to it.”

At Handsell, visitors will see a replica single-family dwelling house, garden and work shelter in honor of the people of Chicone Village. Made of all-natural material, it requires regular maintenance recently done by the Chicone Village volunteers who have logged over 3,600 hours creating this single-family complex.

It is open daily during daylight hours at 4837 Indiantown Road. The National Register Historic Site currently has a granite Memorial to the Enslaved, a “Guide by Cell” tour offered to visitors, six wayside signs and a 1/3-mile trail with a “doggy station” and brochures, all to emphasize the overall mission of Three Cultures. The house is open for special events and small group tours by appointment.

The annual Chicone Village Day event is growing with participation from Native groups increasing yearly. Returning this year is Daniel Firehawk Abbott, a living history interpreter and designer of the Chicone Village Longhouse and Garden. The Pocomoke Indian Nation, a longtime supporter of the Chicone Village, will feature Chief Norris Howard in the work shelter and Philip Goldsborough, a native historian and expert in flint knapping.

Other tribal groups invited to attend include the Nause Waiwash Band of Indians, with Chief “Wolfmother” Donna Abbott. Jeff Kirwan will lead the Native Drummers and Herman Jackson will represent the Nanticoke of Millsboro, Delaware.

Several new and returning artists in associated Native American crafts will demonstrate their skills. Unlike other powwows held by Eastern Shore tribal groups, NHPA has devoted its education programs to early Native life as it was before the arrival of Europeans. Living history demonstrations will include cooking, weaving, chipping of implements and gardening with historic plants. There will be artifact displays by Terry Crannell and others from Native culture.  A special treat will be hearing Shane Rader, a Houma descendant playing the Native flute.

Handsell House will be open all day, where guests will be entertained with song and guitar music by Marianne Styles and greeted by costumed docents to learn the history of the house.  Admission is $5 to help defray costs and for maintenance of the village structures. Open to all ages. Information can be found at restorehandsell.org.

Members and subscribers make this story possible.
You can help support non-partisan, community journalism.