Weekend Ticket: Annual storytelling event at Grand Village to include stargazing, bonfire

Published 11:19 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2018

by Sabrina Simms

NATCHEZ — This year’s annual storytelling at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians will take a cosmic twist.

After 33 years of storytelling in the Grand Village’s auditorium, site director Lance Harris said this year’s 11th Moon Storytelling will feature a bonfire on the village grounds, with refreshments and star gazing activities, all of which are free and open to the public.

Email newsletter signup

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of the Grand Village at 400 Jefferson Davis Blvd.

Harris said representatives from the Natchez National Historical Park will be on site with telescopes, so attendees can view the stars in the night sky.

The 11th Moon Storytelling dates to the first Natives in Natchez, Harris said.

“One of the normal things for the Natchez people was their lunar cycle … first moon deer, strawberry second moon, etc. … this is their 11th moon right now,” Harris said. “Winter is cold, so you’re inside a lot, and that’s when stories would relay native people’s history and cosmological beliefs.”

The event has become a favorite for many, Harris said.

“This program has been going on for a long time here at the Grand Village. Always this time of year in Natchez, we keep that tradition going,” he said.

In past years, the event has been hosted during the afternoon in the auditorium of the Grand Village. This year, however, Harris said that the expansion of the event will move the storytelling to the grounds if weather permits.

“All of the stories that we’re telling are going to tie in to cosmological beliefs of the Native American peoples. We’re hoping to be able to tie those stories to astrological science,” Harris said.

This year they will connect these stories to iconography, or the study of images and symbols of various artworks such as pottery and other creations.

“There’s a major corpus of artwork among native people, particularly in the Southeast,” Harris said. “There’s a common set of motifs that you would see in the southeast mound centers. Modern scholars are trying to link that iconography with the stories collected among Native people in the post-contact period, and also tying that to astrological signs and constellations.”

Harris said that the storytelling would happen, rain or shine. If it rains the event will be moved back into the auditorium.

“It’s a great family friendly event. We want people of all ages to come, have a good time, hear some incredible stories and view the constellations, and hopefully learn something about native people and native culture,” Harris said.