‘An Event Not to be Missed’: Natchez Powwow Returns to Grand Village – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper


“An Event Not to be Missed”: Natchez Powwow returns to Grand Village

Published 7:56 am Wednesday 8 March 2023

The 2023 Natchez Powwow is returning to its two-day weekend tradition. This year’s event will be held on Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26, at the north end of the Natchez Bluff near North Broadway and the High Street, Dr. Charles Borum, who is leading the event. The cultural festival is free and open to the public.

Last year’s Powwow, a one-day event, was held on the Bluff for the first time. It proved surprisingly successful, attracting about 1,500 visitors, according to Borum. He said the extra day this year will allow for greater attendance. Merchants, food vendors and the dancers prefer two days, he said, adding that the two-day timeframe is what attendees are used to.

“Everything went well last year and everyone had a lot of fun,” said Borum. “We wanted to play it safe and start with a tag. But when it was over, we found that we were better attended than we expected.”

Longtime powwow attendee Lance Harris was not surprised by Borum’s presence or involvement. “Chuck Borum has been bringing some of the best Native American powwow singing and dancing to the Miss Lou area for over 30 years,” he said. “The Natchez Powwow is an event not to be missed.”

Fun for the whole family

The Natchez Powwow is an annual event celebrating Native American culture. In addition to dance and music, it includes Native American food, arts and crafts. The Natchez Powwow was created by Borum in 1988. In 2018, the Southeast Tourism Society listed the Natchez Powwow as one of the top 20 events of the year.

Borum said the powwow is a healthy, fun experience for the whole family. “You have to see it and experience it to understand what it’s about. You just have to be there.”

Visitors hear songs that are up to 300 years old. You will also hear the sound of 20 men banging the drum. The colorful, cultural regalia, which can cost upwards of $1,000, is a popular feature. Borum said many of the outfits are specialized. A pair of beaded moccasins range in price from $700 to $1,000, he said. However, some of the clothes are passed down from grandparents.

Reflecting on last year’s powwow, Borum said one of the things that struck him was the stick ball game. Adams County Christian School students who played soccer played stickball against a Philadelphia, Miss. Choctaw team.

“It was a nice little exchange,” he said. “The students were excited to play.”

Looking for his Osage family

Borum was also encouraged by the participation of his friend David Kelley from Natchez. Kelley is a member of the Osage Nation. About two years ago, he turned to Borum for support to learn more about his Native American culture.

“He was Osage, but he knew nothing of the ways of the Osage,” Borum recalled. “He’s been connected to the Osage family ever since, and this year Osage relatives are planning to come to this dance and be with him. In May he will travel to Oklahoma where he and his family will be given Osage names.”

Kelley said he’s fully into that journey now. Growing up, he and his family had their Osage membership, but “nobody passed on the culture.” As he got older, he began to wonder, “What’s out there?”

“I reached out to Chuck because I had a desire to connect with my Osage family,” Kelley said. “I didn’t know how to do it. He has many connections and understanding of Native American culture.

“I offered to help with the powwow in exchange for him helping me. I was surprised that he took me under his wing and showed me things to help me with my dancewear. He has blessed me tremendously. He put me in touch with the leadership of the Osage Nation. I am so grateful to him.”

During Lone Star War Dance’s visit to Granbury, Texas, Borum introduced Kelley to Otto Hamilton, an Osage Congressman, and he in turn helped put Kelley in touch with his relative Jodie Revard, also an Osage Congressman. parliament is.

Kelley said he and his family are looking forward to getting their Native American names. Having the names will give them a place of honor in the nation, he said. “I’m happy and excited about it. It’s on my mind all the time. My family is super excited and want to build their insignia.”

As for the dance, Kelley said it’s hard to explain. As soon as he felt the timing of the drums with his feet and experienced the movement of the dance, he realized there was something spiritual about it.

“You feel it deep inside and it gives you a high,” he said. “I feel connected to the people and the drums. It makes me happy and exhilarated. It’s more than just a dance, it’s a connection to something deeper…like your ancestors.”

This year’s program

This year’s program features Tim Tallchief, of Osage Nation of Jones, Okla., who will serve as Master of Ceremonies, and Darsh DeSilva of Round Rock, Texas, who will serve as Arena Director. The late Mike Shawnee, of Quapaw Nation of Owasso, Oklahoma, will appear on the program as “head singer Southern Drum” at the request of his friends, according to Borum. “His friends asked us to put his name on the show,” Borum said. “They will honor him on the drums by fulfilling his obligation as head singer.”

Other participants include Stan Smith of the Ponca Nation of Muskogee, Oklahoma as lead dancer; Kristal Glass, Quapaw Nation of Stillwater, Oklahoma, as Head Lady Dancer; and Jeffrey “Dude” Blalock, absentee Shawnee-Peoria from Miami, Oklahoma, as head gourd dancer.

Visitors are asked to bring their own beach chairs. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the powwow area, vendor and food sales areas.

The schedule for Saturday

9:00 am – Grocery and craft and farmers market vendors are open

11 am — Traditional stickball game

1 p.m. – Pumpkin dance

2:30 am – Grand Entrance and Intertribal Dancing

4pm – Camp Feed for singers and dancers and family/friends

6 p.m. – Pumpkin dance

7 p.m. – Grand entrance and intertribal dancing

9pm – Closing

The schedule for Sunday

9am – Food and craft vendors open

1 p.m. – Pumpkin dance

2:30pm – Grand Entrance and Intertribal Dancing

For more information, visit https://www.natchezpowwow.com or email Powwow Chairman Dr. Chuck Borum at cborum@hotmail.com.

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