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The Ocmulgee Indian Celebration

Ocmulgee National Monument Sign. Photo by Jamie Benson.

Ocmulgee National Monument Sign. Photo by Jamie Benson.

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This year Macon’s own Ocmulgee National Monument will be kicking off its 27th Ocmulgee Indian Celebration for two days on Sept. 15 and 16. This historic celebration presents traditional Native American dances, crafts, stories and music. Every fall large crowds gather to celebrate the rich history of Native Americans from all around the Southeast.

Mercer students are encouraged to get involved in Macon events and sometimes given extra credit for attending the Ocmulgee Indian Celebration. Mercer senior Rachel Copeland is from Macon and went to the event as a child.

“My family tried to take me every year when I was growing up,” Copeland said. “I think it shows a lot of the heritage of Macon and it also exposes you to the culture that was here and is still here.”

At this year’s celebration, there will be arts and crafts such as pottery, arrowhead and jewelry making. Half hour shows of dancing, live drumming and flute playing will be presented as well.

Park Ranger Angela Bates said, “it’s important for everyone, no matter their age, to experience different cultures first hand.”

Storytelling is a big part of the celebration. The history of the dances, music and crafts are shared, and stories of creation and legends are told every half hour.

Throughout the day there will be historic displays of animal furs and housing, showcasing how native people lived thousands of years ago. Live animals, such as horses, can be seen at the event. All trails will be open during the celebration, as well as the visitors center.

Hayley Harrod, a junior at Mercer, has attended the event several times and encourages college students to take a break from school to go to the celebration.

“To get to go out to one of those festivals where you can, instead of think about school, you can think about all the peoples that lived there so long ago,” Harrod said. “I would definitely suggest it.”

Every year Ocmulgee brings in a different group of Native Americans to showcase their culture. This means that each year is different and the event can be enjoyed multiple times. Along with the nature walks, Ocmulgee offers a real life look into the lives of Native Americans.

“It’s really really beautiful,” Harrod said. “You really get to experience their culture.”

The event is only $6 to attend for adults ages 13 and above, and $3 for military. The park itself opens at 9 a.m., however, the celebration starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.

The park will also offer handicap shuttles from the health department parking lot located at 171 Emery Highway.

 

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