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Do you know real Natchez history?

Ask most Mississippians to describe Natchez and they’ll likely conjure up images of ladies in hoop skirts, large antebellum mansions and other antebellum images.

That somewhat myopic view of what Natchez encompasses in understandable.

That’s the Natchez history that we’ve marketed for years.

But to focus singularly at Natchez’s history from the early- to mid-19th century is only to scratch the surface of what is there.

Natchez’s history before cotton was king and showy mansions ruled the day is equally as fascinating.

Our city’s very name comes from the native people who first settled here some 1,300 years ago. Sadly their history here was cut short in the early 1700s at the hands of the Europeans.

But today, visitors and residents can learn some of their fascinating history through exhibits at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians and through locations such as Emerald Mound and events such as the Natchez Powwow, which continues today.

We’re lucky to have such great history in our community and even more lucky that people like Grand Village director Jim Barnett and Powwow organizer Dr. Chuck Borum help keep that history alive year after year.

Natchez’s tourism efforts should include more focus on these early days of our history as they make up the complete history of our area — not just the “Gone with the Wind” version for which we’re so well known.

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