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Natchez Powwow brings friends together

NATCHEZ — Powwows are meant to bring people together.

Cheylon Woods, who lives in Shreveport, La., and is descended from the Mississippi Choctaw, said this fellowship was why she continued to participate in powwows into adulthood.

“Powwow is a time to see people who don’t live near you,” she said. “Multiple tribes come and we rekindle friendship.”

At the 22nd annual Natchez Powwow, John Eliot Ward, 11, met his friends there, including Gauge Thomas, 9. The two were running around the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians with a bow and arrow dragging other children, many of whom they didn’t know, in on their fun.

Ward said he was happy about the bow he had purchased this year.

“I get something every year,” Ward said. “Last year I got a spear and the year before that I got a bow that wasn’t as good as this one.

“Next year, I’m getting a blowgun.”

Thomas and Ward both thought the powwow was cool.

“My favorite part is the dancing, and then the funnel cakes,” Ward said.

Dressed in traditional Southern straight dancewear, Jan Hackett of Montgomery, Texas was one of the people brought in to move to the drumbeats. He said he had been interested in Native American dance culture since boy scouts.

“I try to dance once a month,” he said. “But this is my first time at the Natchez Powwow — I’ve always wanted to come but there was a conflict.

“So far, it has been going great.”

Cub scout Cole Latiolais, 8, of Baton Rouge said the powwow was cool.

“We get to listen to their music, it sounds like boom, boom, boom boom, boom — I like the drums,” he said. “They do a cool dance.”

Adams County Christian School English teacher Juliet Wesberry was admiring the Native American crafts.

“There is so much variety,” Wesberry said. “The craftsmanship is just beautiful.”

Looking over some turquoise rings, Derrall Moore of Brandon was impressed with what he was seeing.

“Everything I’ve looked at so far seems to be of high quality,” he said. “All of the venders have an expertise on their products, it is very nice.”

Using his walking stick to block incoming arrows, 10-year-old Christopher Gustatson had just finished making some purchases.

“I got this walking stick, a little dog stone and a pocket knife,” he said.

“It is pretty good, it locks when you pull the blade out and you have to push this in to get it to go back down.

“Heck yeah, I’m having fun!”

People from all over were watching the dancers, enjoying the crafts and eating the food, organizer Charles Borum said.

“Today, we had great weather, we’ve got a lot of dancers and we had a great turnout,” Borum said. “It’s going well.”

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