Past offers valuable lessons

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Long before the first European explorer set foot in Natchez, the area had a unique history.

Before any of the various flags flew high over the bluffs, the true Natchezians walked along the banks of St. Catherine Creek.

And, as difficult as it may be for modern Natchezians to comprehend, there wasn’t a hoopskirt or a white column in sight.

Email newsletter signup

Certainly many of us have visited the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, a site operated by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History at the end of Jefferson Davis Boulevard.

But many of us don’t know much beyond the basics — until now.

Fortunately, local historian and Grand Village guru Jim Barnett has just penned a new book detailing the history of the Natchez prior to 1735.

Old timers often say that we should study our history carefully in order to learn from it. We can learn many things from studying the Natchez, but perhaps the most important lesson comes from the formation of the Natchez in the first place.

Barnett describes them as a group of “autonomous villages that had banded together.”

He describes them as multi-ethnic and what we’d describe as a hodge-podge of different remnants from earlier societies.

All of the various parts working together for the greater good and protection of the whole. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.

The names and faces may have changed but the love of the land and its people continue on today. The spirit of the Natchez lives in each of us — even when we don hoopskirts and walk between the white columns.