A day of traditional tribal dance is planned for Sept. 5 by the Arkansas Cherokee Nation, also known as the Chickamauga Cherokee of Arkansas.
The 2009 Pow-wow will begin with the flag raising at 8 a.m. at the Faulkner County Fairgrounds. The Kiowa-Apache Black Foot Society from Anadarko, Okla., will perform dances that are more of a religious rite than a competition or show, according to Jennifer Helton, who runs the tribal office at Pickles Gap Village.
Jennifer Helton said the tribal dancers will make their grand entrance at 1 p.m.
Last year, the first year for the event, she said approximately 2,500 people attended.
"We didn’t have a lot of advertising last year," she said.
On Sept. 4, the Kiowa-Apache Black Foot Society will be on KATV’s Daybreakzto help promote the event.
In addition to the dancing, there will be arts and crafts for sale as well as concessions.
"We will have authentic and non-authentic items," Helton said. Many similar authentic items now sell at the Native American Store at Pickles Gap. "We will be making a special trip to pick up more items."
Admission is $2 for those over age 6. Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts can receive free admission if they attend in their uniforms. The Conway Advertising and Promotions Commission helped with the event last year and will also help this year, Jennifer Helton said.
"It is open to the general public. You don’t have to be a member of the tribe. It is an opportunity to share the Cherokee Native American beliefs and educate about the customs," Helton said.
The Arkansas Cherokee Nation is a division of Chickamauga Cherokee Corporation, a corporation of the Sac and Fox Nation. The Sac and Fox Nation is a federally recognized tribe.
The tribal office is run from Pickles Gap Village, which is owned by Arkansas Cherokee Enterprises, Inc. The tribe is working to be federally recognized, according to Harold Helton. The business is helping to fund the effort to have the tribe recognized. The tribal council members are working to improve Pickles Gap Village. Harold Helton is working to add a wicker basket maker and quilter to the village. A stain glass worker as well as a person with a music shop have also expressed interest in coming to the Village.
Jennifer Helton said the tribe is accepting applications for people to join the tribe who have Native American ancestors who lived in Arkansas from 1800-1850.
"We are trying to re-create the ancestral rolls for Arkansas," she said. Native American rolls were not taken in Arkansas as in other states.
Jennifer Helton said the tribe’s goal is to "rebuild Mother Earth." Members are working with non-profit and for-profit companies on recycling type efforts.
Harold Helton said having the tribe federally recognized would bring many benefits to the area.
"It can do so much for infrastructure. The potential is unreal," Harold Helton said.