IACA Journal, Spring 2014 - page 10

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IACA Journal | Spring 2014
Powwow at Grand Village
of the Natchez Indians
The Tribe Celebrates its 26th Annual Event
The Grand Village of the Natchez Indians is in Natchez,
Mississippi, an appropriate location for ceremonial and social
dancing as the site served as a ceremonial center for the Natchez
Indians and their ancestors from around 1200 AD until 1729.
In November, 1729, the Natchez Indians
rebelled against the French colonists
who occupied the Lower Mississippi Riv-
er Valley, leading to a war between the
Natchez and the French. The Natchez
lost the war and were forced to abandon
their homeland forcing many to join
other tribes. Today, the Natchez Indian
descendants live in the southern Appala-
chian Mountains area and in Oklahoma.
At the end of March, 2014, the tribe
celebrated their 26th Annual Natchez
Powwow, co-sponsored by the Mississip-
pi Department of Archives and History
Powwow singers representing many tribes surround the drum at the annual Natchez Powwow.
and Dr. Charles Borum, who heads
the Natchez Powwow Committee. Dr.
Borum founded the Natchez Powwow in
1989 after participating for many years
in powwows in Oklahoma. In 1990, the
event moved to the Grand Village of the
Natchez Indians, a National Historic
Landmark with a museum accredited by
the American Association of Museums.
This year’s Powwow featured Kiowa
Gourd Dancers and tribal Gourd Dance
groups from Texas (Gulf Coast Tiapiah),
Louisiana (Wounded Warrior), and In-
diana (White Star). Gourd Dancing may
precede the powwow or it can be a sepa-
rate event, not directly connected with a
powwow. The Gourd Dance originated
with the Kiowa tribe, and is a man’s
dance. Women participate by dancing
in place behind their male counter-
parts and outside the perimeter formed
by the men. The dance in the Kiowa
Language is called “Ti-ah pi-ah” which
means “ready to go, ready to die”. Many
participants may be older men, and the
dance is less energetic and less physically
demanding than most powwow dances.
The gourd or rattle, which is traditionally
made from a gourd or large 2-3 inch di-
ameter aluminum can. The gourd rattle
can have peyote stitch beadwork on the
handle. The gourd sash is tied around the
waist. Either a gourd blanket or a vest
may be worn over the shoulders. The
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