09/02/09 — Warriors share their wampum with fund

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Warriors share their wampum with fund

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 2, 2009 1:46 PM

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Thomas Sumner, left, tells his fellow Indian Guides how he earned his wampum this week during their meeting Tuesday. The tribe donated $250 of that wampum to the Blue Ribbon Fund.

Most members of the Wayne Warriors Indian Guides have no idea what deployment means.

They aren't yet old enough to understand what happened to 336th Fighter Squadron Capt. Mark McDowell and Capt. Thomas Gramith July 17 in Afghanistan.

Many in the tribe are only 6 years old.

But Jackson Flower, known around the teepee as "Junior Jedi," understands the meaning of wampum -- and how to earn it.

"I have to finish my chore list," he said.

So when the tribe's senior council -- the boys' fathers -- told them that they were donating $250 to the Blue Ribbon Fund, the fidgeting and roughhousing that is to be expected when 10 young boys gather after school stopped.

They might not know that the money donated will go to help the families of a fallen air crew years from now.

But each understood their part in "serving the community and country" and "loving my neighbor as myself."

The Wayne Warriors are the latest group to contribute to the Blue Ribbon Fund, which has now hit the $20,000 mark.

And while $250 might seem like a drop in the bucket to some, to "Flying Sparrow," "Thundering Seahawk," "Running Bear," "River Otter," "Swimming Fish," "Little Brown Bear," "Dancing Zebra," "Running Cheetah," "Climbing Bear" and "Junior Jedi," it translates into hours of minding their parents and doing their share around the house.

Gray Thomas, also known as "Dancing Zebra," earns his wampum by taking care of the family dog.

And Sahil "River Otter" Hogarty's contribution to the Fund came from "helping my dad in the garden."

The tribe will formally donate its collective wampum at the Blue Ribbon Jam, a benefit concert scheduled for Sept. 17 in downtown Goldsboro.

The event, scheduled for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Waynesborough House parking lot, will be akin to downtown's Center Street Jam events, officials said.

Beach music group the Mighty Saints of Soul will provide the entertainment free of charge, and all money raised from concession sales and donation booths will be turned over to the Blue Ribbon Fund.

The event is open to the public.

Ben "Running Cheetah" Stuber will be there to help his tribe present a check to Fund officials.

He did, after all, clean the dishes and his yard to make his wampum contribution possible.