Natchez Powwow set for weekend

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 23, 2017

By Lyndy Berryhill

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians is once again inviting the public to its largest cultural event of the season.

Email newsletter signup

Natchez Americans from the Choctaw, Comanche, Kiowa, Natchez, Otoe and Pawnee tribes will be represented at the 29th annual Natchez Powwow Saturday and Sunday for traditional dancing and singing.

“It’s a beautiful weekend with some beautiful singing,” Grand Village site director Lance Harris said.

Tickets for the Powwow are $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 years and younger. Booths vending crafts and food will open at 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday. It is advised to bring seating.

Harris said attendees can expect to see dozens of native songs and dances performed by locals and national re-enactors.

The gourd dancing, which originated among the Kiowa tribe, will begin at 1 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, another performance will begin at 1 p.m. Grand entry and inter-tribal dancing at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on both days.

Pawnee tribe member Lance Goodfox of Oklahoma will serve as the master of ceremonies.  Darsh DeSilva of Texas will be the arena director. Nico Pena of Texas will serve as head singer and will lead groups in song. There will be other groups represented from Southeastern states as well as several midwestern states.

Harris said there are powwows across America and even in Europe, but what makes Natchez’ event unique is the hospitality genuine interest people display.

“The Natchez Powwow is not a competition, it’s people just coming to enjoy the singing and dancing,” Harris said.

More than 3,200 people attended the powwow last year, but Harris is hoping for as many people to enjoy the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians’ premier event of the year.

“The weather can make or break us,” Harris said. “If we have beautiful weather … we could have a ton of people.”

Harris said the crowd could easily grow upward of 5,000 people if it does not rain.

If it does rain, the Powwow will take place in the gym at Trinity Episcopal Day School.

“The Natchez Powwow continues to be one of the great annual events in our community,” Powwow Committee Chairman Chuck Borum said. “We are going on 30 years of some of the finest Native American singing and dancing found in the region, and this year will not disappoint.”

The Grand Village is located at 400 Jefferson Davis Blvd. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays 1:30 to 5 p.m. Admission is free during regular operating hours.