Drums, dancing and authentic Native American attire took center stage for two days at the Ocmulgee National Monument.
Jim David, superintendent of Ocmulgee National Monument, estimated about 8,000 to 9,000 on Sept. 19 and about 5,000 for the first half of the day on Sept. 20 showed up to the 24th annual Ocmulgee Indian Celebration.
“Every year this event has been growing,” he said, adding that he’s been at this event for 18 years and it draws the attendance of Native Americans from about 20 to 25 different tribes from all across the country.
Beyond the spectacle of the traditional Indian dances, the event was accompanied by vendors selling genuine cultural knickknacks and educators who taught about the lifestyles of Native Americas throughout the ages.
“I’ve got artifacts that go back about 10,000 years,” said Little Big Mountain as he points to the largest display he’s done for the Ocmulgee Indian Celebration.
From the Paleo-Indian period to the Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian eras, Little Big Mountain shows attendees how his ancestors lived.
Which included demonstrations of how to make fire through friction -- yes, that means rubbing two sticks together.
“We thrive on bringing authenticity, as you can see,” he said.
Little Big Mountain said all of these different skills can still be used today and play an important role in basic survival situations.
Little Big Mountain, who traces his routes to the Comanche and Mohawk tribes, said he’s been an educator on native culture for more than 40 years.
His website, GoNativeNow.com, offers authentic teachings of the old Native American ways.
“With Go Native Now, we give people the opportunity to visualize and go back in time and see what it was really like,” he said.
Also in attendance was a noteworthy celebrity, Chief Noc-A-Homa.
From 1969 until 1985, Chief Noca-A-Homa was the mascot of the Atlanta Braves who had a teepee in a section of the bleacher seats and would dance anytime the Braves would hit a home run.
A role that Chief Noca-A-Homa said he would be reprising at the end of this month.
“They’re going to have me at the stadium on Sept. 30,” he said.
Next year, the 25th year of the Ocmulgee Indian Celebration will match up with the 100th year of National Park Service.
To contact writer David Schick, call 744-4382 or find him on Twitter@davidschick.