Nearly 300 American Indians from across the U.S. will be at Ocmulgee National Monument on Saturday and Sunday for the 27th Ocmulgee Indian Celebration.
“The reason we do this every year is twofold,” said Ocmulgee National Monument Superintendent Jim David. “One is, this is sacred land to these native people and for them to come back and attend an event here is very much like coming home — and bringing their music, food, culture and history with them. They have a real joy coming to celebrate year to year.”
In addition to celebration, David said weekend fun includes education.
“The second aspect is local people and those who come from further away get the chance to talk to, learn from and experience being with true American Indians as opposed to learning the silly stereotypes that come from movies, TV and such. This is the chance to meet real people, taste real food, see real dances and even really join in. The best way to learn about a culture is from those living it and whose history it is.”
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David said weekend activities provide an opportunity to learn and experience aspects of current, historic and prehistoric American Indian life and culture. There are events and activities related to music, dancing, arts, crafts, food, sports and more — even warrior life.
“We’ll present Native American royalty at the celebration and I’m really happy to say Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James Floyd will be coming from Oklahoma to be here,” David said. “He came last year for the first time and was so impressed he’s coming back and bringing a busload of Muscogee (Creek) people with him.”
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation once dwelt on Ocmulgee Monument lands before forced relocation westward to Oklahoma. David said there are now no American Indians who live locally.
Native-style roasted corn, fry bread, alligator tail, Indian tacos, buffalo burger and other traditional treats will be available as well as hot dogs and hamburgers, David said. Arts, crafts, jewelry, baskets, pottery and other items will be sold by American Indian vendors.
David said onsite parking is limited and there will be no onsite shuttle service.
He encouraged free use of regular and handicapped parking provided at the Macon-Bibb County Health Department, 171 Emery Hwy., which will offer a shuttle onto to the grounds.
Weather-wise, as the week progressed and Hurricane Florence pressed in on the Carolinas and Southeast, local predictions appeared reasonably clear and officials said the celebration is still on. If necessary, they said any decision otherwise would be communicated as soon as possible.
Ocmulgee Indian Celebration
Where: Ocmulgee National Monument, 1207 Emery Hwy.
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 15-16
Cost: $6, $3 for ages 6-12 and military; free for 5 and younger