The public is invited to celebrate Native American culture at the 28th annual Mt. Juliet Pow Wow on Sept. 26-27 at Charlie Daniels Park.
The Pow Wow is especially meaningful this year, organizers said, as Gov. Phil Bredesen has signed a bill by the legislature making September “American Indian Heritage Month” in Tennessee.
The bill recognizes Native Americans, as descendants of the original inhabitants of the United States, for their military service and for their contributions to society in many different fields. It also encourages Tennesseans to observe the month “with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities, including activities relating to the culture, traditions and languages of Native Americans,” according to the bill.
The gates to the park will open at 10:30 a.m. on both days and the opening ceremonies will take place at 11:45 a.m. on Sept. 26. Rep. Susan Lynn, who sponsored the bill, Sen. Mae Beavers, Mayor Linda Elam and Alfred Berryhill, Second Chief of the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma, will be in attendance.
The first event is the fifth annual “Trail of Tears” walk, which will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday at Cedar Ridge Church and end at Cook’s United Methodist Church. There will be a service followed by a free breakfast at Cook’s for everyone who participates in the walk.
The commemorative walk was created to recognize the hardships suffered by the five tribes of the Southeast (Muscogee Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole) who walked their “Trail of Tears” to Oklahoma Indian Territory after the Indian Removal Act by President Andrew Jackson. The walk is sponsored by Cook’s United Methodist Church, Mt. Juliet Pow Wow and the Native American Gatherer’s Fellowship.
There will be Native American food, arts and crafts, music and dancing, as well as a silversmith on site during the Pow Wow. More than $11,000 in prize money will be awarded for drum and dance contests.
Admission is free for children 5 and under, $4 for ages 6-12, and $7 for everyone 13 and older. Everyone attending is encouraged to bring lawn chairs.
For more information on the Pow Wow, visit www.mtjulietpowwow.com, contact Cindy Yahola at 443-1537, or email her at Cindy Yahola@mtjulietpowwow.com.