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Washitaw Nation wraps up convention

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PIONEER, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The Washitaw Nation was in West Carroll Parish on Saturday wrapping up its annual convention at Poverty Point.

The group declares itself as one of the oldest tribes of indigenous people and they're back in the Ark-La-Miss a region they claim as their homeland.

The Washitaw Nation gathered on top of the bird mound at Poverty Point to end their four day convention. The group lost their founding member this year, Verdiacee Hampton Goston. To her people, she was known as The Empress. To the town of Richwood, she was a former mayor.

Her God-daughter Vickie Williams said this year's convention was all about celebrating Goston’s life.

"We went to the Ouachita River and scattered her ashes but we had the Washitaw Mardi Gras Dancers that came in from New Orleans that day to perform at the ceremony," Williams said.  

The convention in the Ark-La-Miss started Wednesday. Williams said people traveled from as far north as Canada, as far east as New Jersey and as far west as California to attend the event.

"All nationalities, all different religions that come together," Williams said.   

She said they come together each year to discuss tribal business.

"Our thing is nature. Everything should be natural and we come in peace, love, justice, truth and freedom,” Williams said.  

The Washitaw Nation ended their convention where they believe their heritage began, at Poverty Point.

The Washitaw Nation has a new empress, Verdiacee Hampton Goston's granddaughter Wendy was given the title.

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