It’s no secret that we’re incredibly thankful for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and their dedication to enriching the lives of those in Atmore and Escambia County with their cultural excellence. That’s why we usually love celebrating Thanksgiving at their annual Thanksgiving Pow Wow! Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pow Wow is canceled this year. We’re excited to attend the Pow Wow and Princess Contest again when gathering in large groups is safe again. For now, we’ll spotlight the usual festivities and the history of the Poarch Creek Pow Wow that we love so much!
History of the Poarch Creek Indians’ Annual Thanksgiving Pow Wow
In 1971, the first Poarch Creek Thanksgiving Pow Wow originated to celebrate the homecoming of tribal members. Their tribe descended from the original Creek Nation. But unlike many of the Creek tribes and others in the southeast, the Poarch Creeks were able to avoid being removed from the original land they’ve inhabited for thousands of years. The Poarch Creeks have shown their appreciation for their preservation over the years and rejoiced their beautiful cultural roots by holding their Pow Wow each year. Their tradition represents around 20 tribal nations with their dance competition.
In the 1980s, the Poarch Creeks welcomed all tribes and local citizens to experience their traditions with a two-day festival on Thanksgiving and the day after on the same original tribal land. Since then, the festival has become a significant event that brings together a diverse group of tribes and Alabamian citizens for a wholesome weekend of cultural appreciation and family-friendly fun.
Festivities at the Annual Pow Wow
The main events of the Pow Wow consist of crowning the Poarch Creek Indian Princesses. Tribe members perform indigenous ancestral dance performances in authentic dress to celebrate their roots and educate visitors on the true history of their tribe. The dance competitions have four age categories and respective male and female divisions.
Besides the main performances, visitors can shop various vendor booths for unique crafts and goods. You can also find hefty plates of delicious barbeque, oak wood fire-roasted corn, and buffalo burgers. Local churches contribute to the festivities by holding a potluck with ham, fried chicken, turkey, and dressing dishes.
Each year, around 10,000 people attend the Poarch Creek Pow Wow on Thanksgiving. An additional five to six thousand join in on the fun the next day for the drum competitions and more dancing. Although the Pow Wow isn’t happening in 2021, we can’t wait to resume the activities next year. If you want to be a part of the festivities next year, we’d love to have you stay with us in Atmore, Alabama!