KERNERSVILLE, N.C. -- The Nuluti Equani Ehi tribe is hosting the tenth annual Strong Sun Pow Wow this weekend in Kernersville, but members of other tribes say the event shouldn't be happening because the host tribe isn't a real one.
Nora Dial-Stanley sent a letter to the Town of Kernersville asking it not to rent Beeson Park to the Nuluti Equani Ehi.
"I am concerned that our public will go to an event where a group of people will misrepresent themselves as American Indians," Dial-Stanley said.
Jim Wilson is the Chief of the Nuluti Equani Ehi tribe. He said he runs the tribe from his house in East Bend and that there are about 160 of them in the state.
He's applied for state and federal recognition, and his application is pending.
"I don't want state money. I'm not doing this for the money. I'm doing it because I care about our culture," Wilson said.
Wilson said he's written a three-volume, 2100-page book called "Our History" that details the journey of the Nuluti Equani Ehi from Algonquin origins in Canada down to the Yadkin River and surrounding areas.
"Nuluti Equani Ehi means 'near river dwellers' in old Cherokee," Wilson said.
He said the pow wow will include American Indian music, dancing, food, and more. He said the main goal is to worship, educate, see old friends, and make new ones.
Dial-Stanley has, herself, traced her family history back several generations to the 1700s. She said she discovered a history of mistreatment and discrimination.
She doesn't believe the Nuluti Equani Ehi have endured the same dark history, and she feels its wrong for them claim a similar experience.
Dial-Stanley considered picketing the Strong Sun Pow Wow and passing out fliers informing people of her side of the story, but she decided against it.
Wilson said he'd welcome a discussion with Dial-Stanley or anyone else who doubted the authenticity of the Nuluti Equani Ehi tribe.
The Strong Sun Pow Wow runs Friday through Sunday at Beeson Park in Kernersville.
"Come on in. Walk around. Have fun," Wilson said.