Various Native American items are on display in the Bassett Historical Center, along with sections of books about Native American tribes.

The center serves Patrick County as well as other areas.

Renae Wagoner, of Spencer, the descendant of a Native American, showcased a dress made of buckskin. She explained the tassels “are more than just decoration. They are my drying apparatus. Everything on regalia (clothing) means something. This is not a costume. When I wear this, I am just wearing my native dress.”

She cautioned against taking photos of anyone in Native dress unless first obtaining permission. Otherwise, “you’ve taken a piece of me,” she said.

Also, do not touch regalia. “You can tell them it’s beautiful but it’s disrespectful if you touch it,” Wagoner said.

Native Americans do not worship animals or mountains; they respect them. They worship the Creator, which is what they call God, Wagoner said.

Smudging is done before the Native Americans enter a circle at a gathering. Burning sage in smudging because it is said to cleanse and make people presentable to Mother Earth, she said.

The circle is important because there is no beginning…

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