The Dart: Ogden loves every part of job

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 15, 2007

Sharon Ogden has worked as a division secretary at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians for 28 years, which means that she has worked there longer than anybody else.

“When you’re young and you’re just starting out, you think of it as a job, you don’t think of it in terms of a life-long thing. But I really like my job. And this is a wonderful place to work. It’s a peaceful environment surrounded by beauty,” she said.

Ogden does a little bit of everything in the office, from answering phones to helping with programs to greeting visitors to the museum and running its gift shop. She enjoys all aspects of her job, but she especially likes meeting new people.

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“It’s nice talking to visitors and meeting people from all over the world. I talked to someone from Canada today. We’ve had exciting things happen here. A group of about 200 Russians once visited, who had never been to the United States before.”

And she is always up for learning something new.

“When I first came here, I knew nothing about Native Americans, but I’ve learned a lot about their culture and have become friends with many Native Americans. We also get calls here a lot — just all sorts of questions. So we do research to find out the answer.”

Ogden has also picked up an appreciation for hand-woven baskets. She showed off one in a glass case, worth over $600. She said it was rare because there are only two people left in a certain tribe that still make them.

“I collect a lot of baskets. I’m glad I collected them years ago, before they got so expensive,” she said with a laugh. “I display them around my house. After taking a basket class and completing just the bottom of a basket, I can appreciate more the work that goes into it.”

Ogden says she has no plans to retire any time soon because she enjoys her job so much. Her most-anticipated event of the year, the 19th annual Natchez Powwow, is coming up in March.

“With the establishment of this site, it’s brought Native American awareness to the community. The Powwow is something I, and a lot of people, always look forward to. You know some of these people and you only see them once a year. It’s always a highlight for me.”