Dozens gather for Iberville reenactments

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 11, 2001

Dozens of people are gathering this weekend at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians to view reenactments of explorer Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville’s landing in Natchez.

On Saturday crowds gathered to see a reenactment of a peace pipe ceremony between Iberville and the Great Sun.

Smoking the peace pipe was more than just a friendly gathering to the Natchez, said Grayhawk, a Houma/Choctaw who portrayed Great Sun. &uot;When they smoked the peace pipe, they opened themselves up to the Creator,&uot; Grayhawk said.

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The words one spoke over the peace pipe were said to rise to God among with the smoke, helping insure that those who smoked the pipe were telling the truth.

When d’Iberville arrived with his brother, Jean Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville and about 50 French soldiers, they were greeted by the Natchez war chief, Tattooed Serpent.

Tattooed Serpent led them to the Natchez tribe’s ranking chief, the Great Sun.

By fostering a relationship between the French and the Natchez, Iberville hoped to gain the Natchez as allies to prevent the British and the French from gaining land in the area, said Edmond Boudreaux, who portrayed Iberville.

In addition to the reenactments, the event featured crafts demonstrations, tomahawk throwing, displays of goods that would have been traded in Iberville’s time.

The event also included performances of stories and songs by Grayhawk, said Jean Simonton of Natchez, who started the event last year to mark the 300th anniversary of Iberville’s landing.

And everyone, including members of Cub Scout Pack 22 from Vidalia, had their favorite activity.

&uot;I liked it when they smoked the pipe,&uot; said Cub Scout Tyler Stewart.

&uot;And there was a guy that shot a musket,&uot; said Willie White.

The peace pipe ceremony, which was also conducted Friday, will be repeated at 1 p.m. today at the Grand Village on Jefferson Davis Boulevard.

Admission is free.