Petal to host 15th annual Powwow

The Golden Eagle Inter-tribal Society at the University of Southern Mississippi will present a two-day event to educate the Pine Belt on Native American culture featuring dancing, crafts, food and activities. The 15th annual Powwow is set to be held at Willie Hinton Park.

The event will kick off on April 8. The event typically begins with school day, which is an opportunity for students, including homeschool students, to take part in storytelling, arts and crafts including making cornhusk dolls and drums and a session on native plants and Native American culture.

The powwow will begin on Saturday, April 8 around 10 a.m. Gourd dancing will start at 11 a.m. with grand entry at 1 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. There will be plenty of activities taking place on Saturday.

On Sunday gourd dancing starts at 11 a.m. and grand entry is at 1 p.m. The event will wrap up around 4 p.m.

The gourd dances are men’s dances.

“It’s a warrior dance really,” said Tammy Greer, faculty advisor for the intertribal society. “So the people usually in the circle have served in some form of warrior capacity like police, firemen or military. It's very important to honor these people, because they sacrifice themselves for the good of all of us.”

All of the activities will be at Hinton Park in Petal, but will be moved into the Civic Center if it rains.

There will be several vendors on hand with booths featuring items such as handmade native items like dream catchers, baskets, stickball sticks, rabbit sticks, medallions, necklaces and earrings. Some vendors will sell contemporary and traditional Native American foods like Indian tacos, Fry bread and hominy.

Numerous Choctaw Indians will participate, including Coushatta's and Poarch Creek people, Houma people and Muskogee Creek people.

This year we will honor the people in our community who are disabled. All of us have it rough now and then but people who are disabled have challenges Beyond what most of us in door. We're going to honor those people at our powwow this year.

“I hope people learn about Native American culture, and we want to expose them to the very best of what we do as Native Americans, which is create community, gather together, eat, socialize, dance and have a good time,” Greer said.

Greer is a member of the United Houma Nation of Louisiana and director of the Center for American Indian Research and Studies (CAIRS) at Southern Miss. As faculty advisor for the intertribal society, she helps the group coordinate the powwow, which occurs on the third weekend in April each year.