Powwow held at university Friday, Saturday

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Troy University will host the Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe of Alabama Powwow on Friday and Saturday on the practice fields adjacent to Trojan Arena just off George Wallace Drive.

Schools from throughout Alabama were invited to this special event and more than 2,000 students are expected to attend on Friday.

“This year Troy University and the Tribe both wanted to expand this great cultural opportunity for all Alabamians to enjoy,” said Herbert Reeves, Troy University dean of student services. “The response from the schools was overwhelming.”

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School children will visit the powwow from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friday, and the gates open to the general public at 3 p.m.

Skilled artists and demonstrators will be on hand throughout the event, and dance competitions and exhibitions will begin on Friday about 10 a.m. Inter-tribal dances and several candy dances, where children can participate and pick up candy during halts in the drum music much like “Musical Chairs,” will be performed at various times throughout the day.

The event continues on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., with the Grand Entry scheduled for noon. There is no cost for admission.

John Jinright, Troy Arts Council presenter chair, said he and his wife attended a Mai Chi Lower Creek Indian Powwow and greatly enjoyed the demonstrations of music, dancing and folk arts.

“The event spanned several days and had special outreach events on Friday for schools all over the Wiregrass,” Jinright said. “ It seemed like a great opportunity for Troy Arts Council to partner with Troy University and the Ma-Chis community and help grow this annual event into a major festival that would have significant educational and economic benefits for our area.  We contacted the tribe through Herbert Reeves and asked what we could do in support of the festival and offered to help bring in Martha Redbone one of the top Native American musical artists in the world.”

Martha Redbone is an American blues and soul singer of part Cherokee, Choctaw, European and African-American descent,

Jinright said he had seen Martha Redbone in a performing arts showcase in Atlanta in 2014 and knew she would be an amazing choice for the festival.

“In her concerts, she explores traditional and modern variations of folk, roots, blues, tribal, and soul music using her beautiful strong voice, her charismatic storytelling, and a variety of instruments played by two outstanding musicians,” Jinright said. “She is an incredible talent and a very gifted educator. Her show is family-friendly and I can personally say that my grandson adores her music.”

Jinright said the TAC is proud to be a part of the joint effort to bring Martha Redbone to Troy and help grow this important festival for Troy and Pike County.

The Martha Redbone Trio concert is at 7 p.m. Friday and is free to the public. She will also be speaking on Saturday during the morning at the main tent.  The Powwow is located next to Trojan Arena on the university’s intramural fields.

The Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe of Alabam Powwow is sponsored in part by Troy University, the Troy Arts Council, Alabama State Council on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.