Saturday, July 21, 2012

 CHOCTAW INDIAN FESTIVAL 


PHILADELPHIA RESERVATION
Mississippi


My Father grew up in this area of Mississippi between Union and Philadelphia.  He was from a large family of 12 children, two of which died very young.  There were enough brothers to have their own basketball team and play baseball. My father went on to become a basketball coach and history teacher.  When I was very small he taught me a few Choctaw words...one for man and one for cow.  I wasn't sure they were real words until I asked the ladies at the festival...and to my surprise they were really the right words.  Later when we lived in Columbus, Mississippi my Father wanted to put together a baseball game between a Columbus team and the Choctaw team, but at the time prejudice was so great the city would have no part of it.  The world has changed thank goodness and people are more open minded, but in the early 1940's it was a different story and prejudice was rampant.   
I came back to Philadelphia and Union for my Aunt Lorene's 90th birthday.  It was a walk back into my childhood.  My Aunt's house has changed little and I can still here the click of domino's as my uncles played in the back room.  I can still feel ghosts of memory as little cousins caught lightning bugs on a summer night.  
It was by accident that I came at the time of the Indian Fair, but I was so happy that I got to go.  It made me think that my Father most likely walked that reservation and played sports with the Choctaw boys.  It also made me think of our ancestors that were Indian on both sides of my family...on one side Choctaw and the other Cherokee.  I will post another writing on the Choctaw and more about their culture.  The current situation on Indian reservations in America is still not a good one...there is poverty, abuse, and isolation.  But, we will cover this later.
In the meantime look at the wonderful basket work of these Choctaw women.



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