Clarksville, TN – The Native Cultural Circle (NCC) of Clarksville will be holding their 13th annual Intertribal Powwow on October 9th and 10th; the festivities begin around 9:00am on Saturday, and 10:00am on Sunday. The Grand Entry that officially opens each day begins around Noon. Come out and take part in a two day celebration of Native American Culture and traditions.
It does not matter if you are a Native American or not! Everyone is welcome! Being your family out and share in the fellowship that is such a huge part of Native American culture. Let the tranquility of the powwow grounds refresh your spirit.
The Head man will be Jonathan Byrnes, the Head Lady Jill Smith. The Master of Ceremonies will be Faron Weeks. Ronnie Johnson will be serving at the Arena Director. The Head Veterans are Clyde Mayes & Charles Page. The Host Drum will be the White Horse Singers from Alabama. Guest Drum will be Southern Echo. Other drum groups may be on hand for this years powwow as well.
The Powwow Grounds
The Powwow is held in a location with special significance to Native peoples.
During the Indian Removal of 1838, the Cherokee nation was taken from their traditional homes in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama, and forcefully relocated to the Indian Territories in what later became Oklahoma. The Powwow grounds lay along the northern land route. Diary records of the removal identify Port Royal, as “the last stop before leaving Tennessee, and as an encampment site where the Cherokee stayed overnight or longer to re-supply, grind corn and rest.”
During the removal between 4,000 and 6,000 Cherokees died. The journey became known as “The Trail of Tears” or, as a direct translation from the Cherokee Nunna daul Tsuny, “The Trail Where They Cried”.
The old road bed (across the street from the Powwow grounds) along the northern portion of the Port Royal Historic Area received its Trail of Tears certification on September 19th, 2006 from the National Park Service.
With this history in mind Native Americans consider the powwow grounds sacred. To commemorate the suffering of their ancestors during their forced relocation, on Saturday October 9th the Native Cultural Circle will be holding their 4rd Annual NCC Trail of Tears Memorial Walk. Walkers meet by the kiosk in the Trail of Tears area of Port Royal State Park at 10:15am. The walk begins at 10:30am.
In conjunction will the NCC Powwow, rangers from the Port Royal State Park will conduct interpretive talks and tours on Saturday October 9th from 8:00am till 4:00pm at the Trail of Tears site across the road from the Powwow grounds. The tours will focus on Port Royal and Tennessee’s historic connections to the Indian Removals. The park site will be open to anyone interested in staying on after the tours end, however the park closes to all visitors at 4:30pm.
The Powwow features Native American dances; some invite public participation. There will also be Silent Auction, Story telling; and craft demonstrations including a very talented blacksmith and a pipemaker.
A silent auction will take place on Saturday and Sunday for the duration of the powwow. Auction items are located in the Native Cultural Circle tent, behind the MC stand. The auction closes at 4:00pm, Sunday Afternoon. Winners not in attendance at the conclusion of the auction will be notified by telephone.
The Story Teller
Mary Anne Plante or Grandma Minnie was born on the banks of the Mississippi River in Memphis, Tennessee on April 7th, 1959. Grandma Minnie has been enchanted by words and has been magically weaving them together to create and tell stories. Her first stories were about her friends Pete and George (her parents said that they were imaginary, but she insists that they were real).
She gives God the credit for giving her the gift to be a story teller. Grandma said “Telling stories keeps me young at heart and lets me see through the eyes of children”.
Grandma Minnie now hails from Jackson, TN where she lives with her husband, Jay Plante. She has two grown daughters, Anna and Erin, and two precious granddaughters, Ella and Karah. Grandma says that she is enjoying the blessings of one of the most beautiful seasons of her life. She told me “Every time that I have one or both of my granddaughters in my arms, I feel like I’m in heaven and that’s what telling stories is like too.”
On the south side of the dance arena visitors will find a large canvas tent that is the traveling establishment “When Pigs Fly.” Inside you will find treasure trove of Americana as well as 19th century re-enactor clothing, Native American regalia and accessories, items and ironwork that he has made over the winter. The proprietor of “When Pigs Fly” is Randy Rain of Hokes Bluff, AL, but you may not find him inside. Randy is typically out back at his blacksmith forge pounding iron.
Randy is Red Stick Creek and Highland Scot. His period crafts are well researched and meticulously accurate to the time period. He is a self taught blacksmith and has been forging professionally for about 10 years. His work is ironwork excellent and in great demand wherever he sets up camp.
Visitors are welcome to watch as he works the forge. Please keep in mind that all children must be accompanied by an adult.
Jay Plante is the founder of the Happy Squirrel Trading Company. He makes Native American styled prayer pipes, metaphysical tools, pendant pieces, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and fetishes. Jay is a multi-media artist and incorporates stone, bone, glass wood, and feathers in his pieces.
He is also a Reiki Master and has been practicing Reiki since 1997. Jay’s Reiki filters through in everything he designs and makes all of his creations energy charged.
When working with stones, Jay accentuates the stone’s natural beauty by combining polished and unpolished surfaces. His creations are always one of a kind and are designed as the stone speaks to him.
You can see examples of his work on his Facebook Page Jay Plante, and then click on the Happy Squirrel Page. He has sold his work at Pow Wows from Florida to New Hampshire and as far west as Arizona. His passion and commitment in making fine pieces is highly evident in all he creates.
Native American Vendors will be on hand, the vendors who are at powwows, only offer authentic handmade jewelry, arts and crafts and clothing. Other vendors will be offering food and beverages for sale.
Veterans are respected and honored among all of the tribes. The respect for Veterans is an integral part of the Native American Culture, having roots from when the welfare of the villege depended on the quality and quantity of the tribes fighting men. Veterans are honored because they are willing to give their lives so that others can live. During the Powwow Grand Entry they are the flag bearers. All of the Veterans and any first responders (Police, Fire, EMS, etc) present are invited to come into the circle for the honor song.
Schedule of Events
A small note these times are approximate. Native Americans typically operate on what is jokingly known as “Native American Standard time,” which basically means “it happens, when it happens”.
- Gates open – 9:00am
- Port Royal Memorial Trail of Tears Walk – 10:30am (Walkers meet by the kiosk in the Trail of Tears area of Port Royal State Park by 10:15am)
- Welcome & Grand Entry – 12:00pm
- Posting the colors and Flag Song
- Demonstrations, dancing, and storytelling
- Retiring of the colors
- Activities end at 6:00pm
- Dinner for Drums, Dancers, Vendors, and Staff
- Gates open – 10:00am
- Welcome & Grand Entry – 12:30pm
- Posting the colors and Flag Song
- Demonstrations, dancing, and storytelling
- Retiring of the colors
- Activities end at 5:00pm
How to find the Powwow grounds
The Port Royal Powwow grounds are located on Highway 238 in Adams Tennessee. If you are coming from Clarksville take Highway 76 north of I-24 (Exit 11) until you see the turn off for the Old Clarksville/Springfield Road. Take that left and continue until you reach highway 238. Make a left on Highway 238, and the Powwow grounds will be just across the bridge on the right. It’s not far from Clarksville.
Admission & Donations
There is a small admission fee: Adults (16-60) are $5.00; Active duty military- with ID, and children, 15 years of age and under, are admitted free; Senior citizens 60 and older pay only $2.00. There is no charge for parking. Proceeds from the Powwow are used to purchase Native American books which are donated to area school libraries. The Native Cultural Circle is an charitable education non-profit organization. Charitable donations are appreciated, and are tax deductible. Visitors are reminded to wear comfortable shoes, bring a lawn chair, and wear sun cover and a good sunscreen.
- Listen to the Master of Ceremonies, he’s your guide for the day.
- Stand and men must remove their hats during the Grand Entry, Flag song, Invocation, Memorial, Veterans song, and Closing song.
- Please do not permit your children to enter the dance circle unless they are invited to take part in the dance.
- If you want to take pictures or shoot video, check with the person you are interested in taking pictures of, and ASK THEIR PERMISSION. The Master of Ceremonies will tell you when it is ok to take video or photos of the dances, or not. No one may enter the dance circle to take photographs.
- Do not touch anyone’s dance Regalia without their permission. These clothes are not “costumes” and yes we use modern things like safety pins and such because we are a “living” culture, our Regalia is subject to change.
- Powwows do not allow alcoholic beverages, drugs, or firearms. All violators will be asked to leave.
- Please make an extra effort to walk to the trash can — Respect Mother Earth.
- Leave your stereotypes at home. Have fun! Buy something from the vendors. Try out new foods. The Whole universe comes together to celebrate, and you are invited to join in.
The Native Cultural Circle wishes to thank all of their sponsors again this year for their support in the festival booklet. Individuals, organizations and local businesses are encouraged to show their support for this cultural celebration. Super 8 Motel, Huntco Drive and M.L.K. Pky, just left from I-24 Exit 11, is serving as honorary guest hotel.
The Native Cultural Circle would like to extend recognition to some people who have contributed in making this event a reality. Names are listed alphabetically.
- Bill Larson
- Charles Merritt
- Clyde Mayes
- Coca Cola/Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Clarksville
- Crossroads Christian Fellowship
- Dan & Donna Johnson
- David Britton and his Family
- The Friends of Port Royal
- Graham & Mary Harvey
- Ken Washington, Store Manager for Home Depot #0726
- Neva & David Stephens
- Port Royal Cafe
- The Hui Hawai`i O Tenesi Hawaiian Civic Club
- Thomas Hare
- Wendell Clark & Maria Lowery