Historic Indian festival is this weekend

Published 6:13 pm Wednesday, October 12, 2011

As late as the early 1800s, Native Americans with the Lower Muscogee tribe, or the Creek Indians, still lived in Alabama, South Georgia and North Florida–in fact, some of their descendants still live in Decatur and Grady counties.

After tribal land was sold off and the Native Americans were scattered and significantly restricted on where and how they could live, some gathered in the swampland near what is now the city of Attapulgus. A historic Creek tribal town known as Tama was located near Whigham, Ga., the site of an annual intertribal Pow-Wow.

This year’s Pow-Wow is Oct. 14-16 and features many Native American activities, including music, dancing, food, arts and crafts, drama, history and story telling.

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The Pow-Wow grounds are located at 107 Long Pine Drive, located off Collins Road near Whigham. The cost of admission is $3 per vehicle, whether a car, truck or bus.

On Friday night, the Pow-Wow will kick off with the gates opening to the public at 5 p.m. A tribal Grand Entry ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. and Intertribal dancing will take place from 7 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, the festival gates will open to the public at 9:15 a.m. Saturday’s activities will include storytelling, an auction, a Native American language class, dancing and demonstrations at the Living Village. The tribal Grand Entry ceremony will be held at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and and again at 7 p.m.

As in past years, there will be a variety of traders and vendors, food and dancing. Singing Dove’s Kitchen will serve authentic Native American food, as well as traditional All-American favorites.

The festival will resume Sunday, Oct. 16, with Grand Entry at 1 p.m. and other activities following.

Guests are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or something to sit on. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and owners are expected to clean up after them. Guests are also asked to park in designated areas to maintain the tribal ground’s sacred nature.

“Step back into the 1700s-1800s and take home an understanding of the Creek Indians that inhabited southwest Georgia many years ago,” said Barbara Gorman, who co-coordinates the annual festival with her husband, Richard Venable.

Festival activities

Linda Hutchison and Scott McNutt will demonstrate primitive weapons. Linda is a National Women’s Archery Champion; Scott is a renowned primitive flint knapper and educator.

The living history camp (circa 1700-1800) will consist of demonstrators Neal and Jeff Parr. These re-enactors will demonstrate the aspects of hunting and cooking of every day Creek life in the 1700-1800s.

Marcia Johnston is a self-taught Native American flutist and story teller. Peggy Venable is an accomplished Creek historian and will share her knowledge about the Creek Indians who occupied southwest Georgia during the 1700-1800’s. Debra Bush is a Creek storyteller as well.

Members of the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe will present a skit that explains how the land that was to become Georgia was acquired by King George II of England. These demonstrations will be available throughout the three-day festival.

Editor’s Note: This article contains some information from an article originally written by Barbara Gorman, the co-coordinator of Tama Tribal Town Days, and used with her permission.