Soggy grounds don’t stop powwow dancing Saturday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 29, 2009

NATCHEZ — The ground may have been a little soggy, but that didn’t stop dozens of dancers at the Natchez Powwow.

The sounds of drums filled the air, the smell of fried bread drifted on the breeze and hundreds of rattles rattled when the gourd dancing began at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians Saturday afternoon.

Friday night’s storms didn’t keep people away from the powwow, and Powwow Chairman Chuck Borum said he thought it was pretty good crowd.

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“I’d estimate that there are 50 dancers out there,” Borum said. “We’ve had some years where there were only a dozen.”

Participants in the festivities came from as far away as Michigan, Pennsylvania and California.

But there were also a number of participants from Oklahoma, something Borum said impressed him.

“They have powwows there all the time,” he said. “They can go any weekend to a powwow but they came here.”

Pauline Tsosie, from Tulsa, Okla., was one of those, and she was busy preparing a meal for the dancers.

The hand-prepared feast included corn soup, steam-fried chicken and rice, wild onions, potatoes, rye bread and hot meat.

All of the food was being prepared in large tubs placed over open flames.

“This is how we do it at home,” Tsosie said. “We cook in the tubs to feed the tribe.”

Local Randy Collier said he enjoyed the chance to go to the powwow and observe.

“I like the old ways of the Indians, their way of life, how they lived,” he said.

The Powwow will continue today, opening at noon and with gourd dancing starting at 1 p.m. followed by a grand entry and intertribal dancing at 2 p.m.

In case of rain, the festivities will be moved to the Trinity School gymnasium on U.S. 61 South.

The powwow was founded in 1989, has been at the Grand Village since 1990 and benefits the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter.

American Indian tribes that have been represented at the powwow through the years include the Natchez, Ponca, Comanche, Creek, Cherokee, Shawnee-Quapaw, Delaware, Oto, Osage, Mississippi Choctaw, Coushatta, Cheyene, Potowatami, Navajo and Sac Fox tribes.