Don’t miss out on the fun! Natchez Powwow happening now on Natchez Bluff

Published 5:30 pm Saturday, March 25, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Those who happen to be near Downtown Natchez might have heard voices and drums ring through the air. For those who are not, don’t miss out!

The Natchez Powwow, a two-day tradition that celebrates the culture of Native Americans, returned to the Natchez bluff this weekend. Festivities include singing and dancing and drum music as well as Native American food, and arts and crafts.

Event Chairman Chuck Borum says last year’s event drew about 1,500 visitors and expects this year to have as much or more. The tradition spans over 30 years and, until recent years, was celebrated at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.

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Long-time powwow participant and Grand Village Director Lance Harris called it “an event not to be missed.”

Borum added it’s a fun-filled, wholesome experience for the entire family.

“It’s something you have to see and experience in order to fully appreciate what it’s all about. You just have to be there,” he said.

At the powwow, 20 men gather in a circle to sing and beat on large drums while tribe members and visitors dance to songs, some of them 300 years old.

Festivities conclude around 9 p.m. Saturday and continue at 9 a.m. Sunday.

This year’s program features Tim Tallchief, Osage Nation of Jones, Oklahoma, serving as the master of ceremonies, and Darsh DeSilva of Round Rock, Texas, serving as arena director.

The late Mike Shawnee, Quapaw Nation of Owasso, Oklahoma, is listed on the program as “head singer southern drum” following a request by his friends, according to Borum.

“His friends asked us to leave his name on the program,” Borum said. “They will honor him at the drum by fulfilling his obligation as head singer.”

Other participants include Stan Smith, Ponca nation of Muskogee, Oklahoma, as head man dancer; Kristal Glass, Quapaw Nation of Stillwater, Oklahoma, as head lady dancer; and Jeffrey “Dude” Blalock, Absentee Shawnee-Peoria of Miami, Oklahoma, as head gourd dancer.

Visitors are asked to bring their own lawn chairs. Alcoholic beverages will be prohibited in the powwow area, as well as the trader and food vending areas.

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