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Festival features history from Native Americans to current times
Apr 05, 2013 | 1484 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Balde Galvan, on left, gives instruction to Ray Martin, member of the Native American Council of Beeville, on the proper way to construct a wickiup — an early Native American tent. This group will be a highlight of the events going on Saturday as part of the Bee County Living History Celebration in Beeville.
Balde Galvan, on left, gives instruction to Ray Martin, member of the Native American Council of Beeville, on the proper way to construct a wickiup — an early Native American tent. This group will be a highlight of the events going on Saturday as part of the Bee County Living History Celebration in Beeville.
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Balde Galvan sharpens a piece of wild persimmon to use as a stake to hold down a wickiup he is building at the corner of Corpus Christi and St. Mary’s streets.
Balde Galvan sharpens a piece of wild persimmon to use as a stake to hold down a wickiup he is building at the corner of Corpus Christi and St. Mary’s streets.
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Wickiup[ built in park at St. Mary's and Corpus Cjristi
Trio builds native-American wickiup for History Celebration
Wickiup[ built in park at St. Mary's and Corpus Cjristi
Balde Galvan held firmly onto the wild persimmon branch as he bent it over the top of the wickiup.

The dome-shaped structure was beginning to take shape. Crafted of two-inch branches and covered in brush, this represented the temporary shelter made frequently by the Native Americans living in this area in the early 1900s.

Galvan is building this one at the corner of Corpus Christi and St. Mary’s streets to bring attention to the celebration this weekend that highlights the history of the area.

“Nobody down here has seen this for a hundred years,” Galvan said.

At 5 p.m. Friday, Galvan and other members of the Native American Council of Beeville and other such groups will build a larger wickiup in the park beside the McClanahan House, in the 200 block of East Corpus Christi Street. The public is invited to come and watch.

On Saturday, the group will finish building their camp.

Shirley O’Neil, who is helping coordinate the event, described said that this is just part of the many events planned for the festival – an effort coordinated with the Bee County Historical Society, city and Beeville Main Street.

“We are going to be having local speakers talking about the history of Bee County,” she said.

There will also be a variety of vendors selling handmade crafts and others selling woodwork and metal crafts along East Corpus Christi Street.

“That is what we were trying to get, the vendors that do crafts, and not the dresses and the jewelry,” she said.

The Bee County Living History Celebration runs Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the 100 blocks of West and East Corpus Christi Street to the 200 block of East Corpus Christi Street at the historic McClanahan House.

Every 30 minutes throughout the day at the McClanahan House, there will be local citizens talking about growing up in Bee County. They will share their personal experiences as well as those passed down through family and friends. Some of the speakers include; County Judge David Silva, instructor at Coastal Bend College; Margie McCurdy, now teaching history at the college; Willa Mae Chandler from Tuleta; Jesse Robinson from Beeville; George McCarty from Pettus; and Roberto Villarreal from Pawnee.

At 9:30 a.m. Lou Adele May will conduct a historical program for the children at the Joe Barnhart Bee County Library. This is a program she has done for several schools.

The whole goal of the festival, O’Neil said, is to share the area’s rich history.

“One of the things that we are losing is our history,” she said. “So many people don’t know history at all — especially the history of our county.

“It is basically lost except on few people.”

O’Neil said for the first year, she is pleased with the number of events planned.

“We got started on it too late,” she said.

Planning started in late October, which didn’t leave much time to corral speakers and line up vendors.

“We wanted to make it a spring affair because there is too much stuff going on in the fall,” she said. “We didn’t want to wait another year.”

She admits that even this weekend has a variety of events, including the Salsa Fest in Three Rivers and the film festival in Victoria.

“I don’t know a weekend that we are not bumping up against something,” she said.

But she is banking on the quality of the speakers and the uniqueness of re-enactors like Galvan to draw in the crowds.

Galvan and other members of the Native American Council will have a mock village built at the celebration.

Lillian Casper, who came down from Chesapeake, Va., to help Galvan, said that they might even be inclined to do a little traditional trading.

“If somebody brings something, it would be more trading for the fun it,” Casper said.

So what might a Native American trade? Well, traditionally, they would be looking for flour, coffee or maybe metal pots.

“It would be just household items,” Casper said. “They would be looking for things they could not make themselves.”

In return, they would have locally gathered honey, leather and bead work.

Casper said that she enjoys going with Galvan and the other members of the local chapter and teaching people about their culture.

“It is about making sure people know our history,” she said.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.
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