published Friday, March 30th, 2012

Celebrate American Indian heritage at two weekend festivals

Chattanooga-area residents can celebrate the country's American Indian heritage and the beauty of their surroundings this weekend at a pair of diverse festivals.

The seventh annual Chattanooga Powwow on the River, hosted by Native American Services of Tennessee, will be Saturday and Sunday at First Tennessee Pavilion.

The Little Owl Music & Arts Festival will be Saturday at Audubon Acres, believed to be the location of the first contact between local American Indians and Spanish explorers.

POWWOW

IF YOU GO

What: Powwow on the River.

When: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Where: First Tennessee Pavilion, 1826 Carter St.

Admission: $6 adults, $4 ages 4-12, free under age 3, local military, police, fire and emergency medical personnel free; $10 concert.

Phone: 240-7270.

Email: NASofTN@aol.com.

Tammera Hicks, chief executive officer of Native American Services of Tennessee and coordinator of the Powwow on the River, said the First Tennessee Pavilion event will be a melting pot of American Indian culture.

"It's our way of giving back to people," she said. "We want them to be enjoying what we like to enjoy. It's very educational, but people also will be having fun."

Hicks said the event will offer more gourd dancing than in the past and a separate concert by multi-Grammy Award winner Bill Miller, who plays a mix of American Indian, jazz and blues music. Proceeds from the concert will benefit Native American Services of Tennessee.

In addition, she said, there will be dancers from across the United States, including the HVSOSV Tallahassee stomp dance group from Atmore, Ala., and Tlaltlacaydoti Aztec fire dance group from Georgia.

Participants also can wander through active craft booths offering bow and arrows, wood carving, shell carving, painting, leather making, beadwork, jewelry and pottery.

"Kids love it," Hicks said, "but it's hands-on for all ages."

The mammogram bus from the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center at Memorial Hospital will be on-site 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Gourd dancing will be offered 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4:30-6 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, all three times preceding a grand entry ceremony.

Little Owl

IF YOU GO

What: Little Owl Music & Arts Festival.

When: Noon-6 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Audubon Acres, 900 N. Sanctuary Road.

Admission: $5 per person or $10 per car.

Phone: 892-1499.

The Little Owl Music & Arts Festival will offer music from Dalton Roberts and Jerre Haskew, a Birds of Prey show by Save Our American Raptors, and performing and visual artists such as Uncle Lightnin', Gilbert Walker Sewell's Jack Pine Savages Stringband, Ray Zimmerman, Marcus Ellsworth, Troy Underwood, Hara Paper, Bob Carty and Jeff Pfitzer.

Other activities include a contest for songwriters, face-painting, a citywide schools poster contest and nature walks. Food also will be available.

Audubon Acres, located on the Trail of Tears, became one of the first land trusts in Tennessee. Known as the Cherokee Arboretum, the specific site has been developed to interpret the forest in the context of American Indian culture and regional history.

Little Owl Village, the festival's namesake, on the side of Chickamauga Creek, is the site of the first contact between local American Indians and Spanish explorers, according to accounts of members of the 1559-1561 Tristan de Luna expedition,

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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