By Danza Johnson | NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Philadelphia showed off their culture to people driving along the Natchez Trace Parkway on Saturday.
The Choctaw Heritage Celebration was a part of American Indian Heritage Month. Members of the Choctaw showed onlookers how to make bead necklaces, traditional Indian clothing, straw baskets and demonstrated Indian dance.
“This is very important for us,” said Trudy Jimmy, who was making traditional clothing. “People don’t really understand or know about the American Indian, so for us to get a chance to come out here and show people about our culture is good.”
Kristen Maxfield, interpretive park ranger for the Natchez Trace Parkway, said people who stopped by the Visitors Center showed a lot of interest in the Choctaws and their culture, especially the children. The dances were the biggest eye-catchers of the day. Dressed in colorful costumes, the Choctaw men and woman performed traditional dances for the crowd.
“They move so gracefully,” said Maxine Johnson of Jackson. “The colors made me pull over here to see what was going on. I didn’t expect this. They are great dancers, and the clothes are just beautiful.”