In St. George, the annual Cherokee of Georgia pow wow is now underway. Now in its 38th year, the festivities kicked off Thursday with visiting school groups.The vendors’ tents were on display, the kitchen was fired up and serving up mouth-watering Indian Fry Bread (with optional honey and powdered sugar toppings) and the dancing grounds were just waiting for the stomp dance to begin.
Under a breezy and sunny sky, visitors to the free event were seen browsing the museum, the many vendor tents and lounging around their campsites. The pow wow also hosts free camping throughout the weekend.
The event is free, as is the parking. The concession stand offers hot dogs and french fries, Indian chili and a variety of non-alcoholic drink options.
The vendors booths were primarily Indian-themed, with dream catchers, turquoise pottery and blankets available for purchase. A few booths had clothing and accessories for sale.
The Tribal Mother, Dona, shared that about 85% of the vendors have participated in previous years. She also said that the Thursday kick-off is usually relaxed, a few school or boy scouts groups visiting during the first day, while Saturday night usually sees the most attendance.
Ms. Dona’s husband, Harley, is the Chief. He shared that his mom and the high chief were the founders of the tribal grounds. At 82, the high chief wanted to step down a bit, so Chief Harley runs the day to day operations for him.
During a tour, Chief Harley explained a bit of history about the tribal grounds. ‘The grounds started out with just a 2 acre piece of land, bought and paid for in full, and is currently up to 29 acres. The two original buildings on the grounds was the bath house and a little cookshed that was turned into a bunk house. Then we built the museum and we built the new cookshed’. The museum displays several items belonging to the High Chief and his wife.
After touring the museum, other activities that will be running Friday and Saturday are social dancing, which runs from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and the Grand Entry and Intertribal dancing that begins at 7:00 p.m. both nights as well. Additionally, there will be a moonlight action set for Saturday night after the dancing. Proceeds from the auction is applied to tribal events and activities. Items available during the auction range greatly. There are pieces donated by the traders and tribal members, homemade goodies or left over chili.
The members of the tribe welcome everyone to come out and visit for a few hours, or stay all day. Bring a blanket or some chairs, and make a day of it.
The tribal grounds are located at 110 Cherokee Way in St. George. For directions to the tribal grounds, or more information, visit their Facebook page.