Choctaw Indian Fair Focuses on Tribal Beginnings

The 61st Annual Choctaw Indian Fair will focus on the tribe's past.

The Cultural Arts Center for the Choctaw Indian Fair showcases exhibits of the historic start of the Choctaw Tribe.

Two years ago, the state of Mississippi signed land back over to the tribe where its 'Mother Mound' rests.

Tribal traditions teach that the tribe was actually birthed from that very site. This year, for the first time at the fair, a special play is being presented that talks about this.

"All of our cast members, we do have a couple that are non-tribal, but it's all put together as a 28 to 30 minute play," said Angela Hudley, coordinator for the 2010 Choctaw Indian Fair.

Aside from making the public more aware of the tribe's origin, efforts are also underway internally to teach young tribal members about Choctaw traditions.

"I know a lot of people, they're trying to learn more about the bead work. They're trying to learn how to do it and craft it and even like the basketry," said Famie Cheyenne Willis, 2009-2010 Choctaw Indian Princess. "There are not too many people I know that make baskets any more, and even just the Choctaw dresses. So, we're trying to teach the young ones how to make it."

"We have departments and programs, Choctaw language that teaches the children," said Hudley. "We try to do that as early as Head Start, to try to start."

Fairgoers are also invited to learn the Choctaw dances. The Choctaw Indian Fair ends Saturday.

Tickets for the fair are: adults - $15 for the season or $10 daily;
students - $10 for the season or $5 daily. Children 5 and under get in free. Gates will open Thursday at 11 a.m., and at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Will you attend the 2010 Choctaw Indian Fair?

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