Choctaw Nation plans large Labor Day festival - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Choctaw Nation plans large Labor Day festival

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From the Choctaw Nation:

TUSHKA HOMMA, Okla. – Each year, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma conducts its Labor Day Festival and Pow Wow at Tushka Homma. The Labor Day Festival offers many activities that appeal to all ages and personalities. Whether it's sports, quilting, learning more about Choctaw traditions or experiencing awesome performances, Tushka Homma is the place to be on Labor Day weekend!
The 2010 Labor Day Festival has many exciting activities and events in store for its visitors this year. The festival begins Thursday, Sept. 2, with the Choctaw Nation Princess Pageant held at 7 p.m. at the amphitheater. The Choctaw Princess Pageant district winners will all compete in this pageant for the title of Little Miss, Junior Miss or Miss Choctaw Nation.
A ribbon cutting will celebrate the opening of the new arts and crafts facility on Friday morning. Construction of this new building started on the day after Labor Day last year. Festivalgoers will be able to enjoy the new air-conditioned facility while viewing all of the wonderful arts and crafts. Many hand-made Native American items will be on display.
"This facility is a huge asset," said Executive Director of Cultural Resources Sue Folsom. Vendors will no longer be set up outside; everyone will be inside this "beautiful facility." The building will also house the Outreach Program, Community Health Representatives, Security and the Labor Day Office.
"We have heard many great comments about how proud the people are of this new addition to the Tushka Homma grounds," exclaimed Sue.
 "We have several special events during this Labor Day Festival," said Chief Gregory E. Pyle. "On Friday, I will have the honor of unveiling a ‘Heroes of the Past' statue at 6 p.m. in front of the Choctaw Capitol building along with the Council and the statue's creator, John Gooden. This statue's face is that of Joseph Oklahombi, one of the most well known of the Choctaw warriors of World War I. He has his arrow aimed toward the future."
Gooden has also done some sculpting for Choctaw Nation in the past with his larger-than-life statue of Choctaw Medal of Honor winner Tony Burris of Blanchard.
The annual Choctaw Nation Pow Wow will follow the unveiling. Hundreds of dancers travel from around the United States to compete in the inter-tribal pow wow. This year's emcee is Tim Tallchief. Head gourd dancer is Darrell Wildcat, head man dancer is Cecil Gray, head woman dancer is Rebecca Roberts, southern drum is Thunderhill and northern drum is Dry Creek. The splendor of the dancers on the Capitol lawn is an awe-inspiring experience.
A Red Warrior memorial will be revealed at the softball field at noon on Saturday. This monument was constructed to honor deceased ball players of Tushka Homma. "It's meant to be a dedication to honor all people who have played at Tushka Homma," commented Director of Choctaw Higher Education Larry Wade. "We are paying our respect. The memorial is just something people can look at and appreciate." "Tushka" means Warrior and "Homma" means Red in the Choctaw language.
A great way to begin any day of the festival is by visiting the Choctaw Nation Museum. The museum holds many historical artifacts and information about the Choctaw culture and past, including actual objects that were carried across the Trail of Tears and interactive exhibits. The hours of operation throughout the festival are Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m., and Monday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For individuals who want to become an official member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, there will be the opportunity to do so. A CDIB/membership booth will be set up inside an air-conditioned building along the road to the cafeteria, across from the carnival rides. The booth will be open to the public starting Friday from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday noon to 7 p.m., and Monday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All first-time applicants need to provide an original state-issued birth certificate and copies of documentation tracing to their ancestor on the Dawes role to obtain a CDIB.
Each year, the Labor Day Festival consists of several concerts by well-known talented performers, and this year is no exception. On Friday evening starting at 5:30, country music singer Jimmy Wayne will be performing at the amphitheater. Following Jimmy, Stoney LaRue will go on at 7 and Travis Tritt at 9. On Saturday night at 7, Neal McCoy will perform followed by Vince Gill at 9. And last but not least, there will be performances by The Crabb Family at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday followed by Casting Crowns at 9. As always, these concerts are free of charge.
Many sporting events and competitions will take place at the festival as well. The annual Chief Pyle Physical Fitness Challenge for youth ages 8 to 18 is a popular event. The kids compete in several obstacles and activities that test their physical fitness and athletic abilities. For the adults, there is a fast-pitch softball tournament, a 5K race, a 3-on-3 Choctaw War Hoops basketball tournament, horseshoe tournament, co-ed volleyball tournament and the Tough-Tough Choctaw contest.
Throughout the entire festival, there will be carnival rides, courtesy of Chief Gregory E. Pyle and the Tribal Council. There will also be numerous specialty acts, including magician Russell Turner, Robinson's Racing Pigs, Superplay, rock climbing, mechanical bull rides, pony rides and Inca flute players. There is also a Choctaw Art Show in the museum, quilting and gospel singing, along with many other fun activities and information booths. The Choctaw Village will hold several activities including Choctaw dancing, stickball skills, banaha making, storytelling, silver smithing and the making of primitive weapons. There will also be activities for children held including a corn game and pottery.
The Labor Day Festival promises to be an exciting and fun-filled time. Opportunities to learn more about the Choctaw tribe will surround all who attend. The Choctaw Nation shows great pride for its military warriors, sports heroes and Christian leaders by showing them the honor and respect they rightly deserve.