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Arts & Culture

Best Ways To Celebrate Native American History And Culture In The Atlanta Area

November 12, 2012 8:00 AM

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

nativeamericanpottery Best Ways To Celebrate Native American History And Culture In The Atlanta Area

(credit: Thinkstock)

It’s truly amazing that we can travel less than an hour away from our home and visit an authentic Native American burial ground or the home of a famous Indian chief. Take advantage of the well-kept historic park areas with Native American history surrounding Atlanta and then have a little fun by participating in a pow-wow. To remember your experience, hop down to Little 5 Point’s Coyote Trading for a unique, beautiful piece of authentic crafted Indian jewelry or momento. Learn the heritage of Georgia and bring the whole family along for a memorable field trip.

Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site
813 Indian Mounds Road S.E.
Cartersville, GA 30120
(770) 387-3747
www.gastateparks.org/EtowahMounds

This popular field-trip spot was home to thousands of Native Americans and is the most popular Native American stop in Georgia. Mostly known for looking quite pristine as one of the most intact cultural sites, it includes a museum, educational film, tour down the Etowah River and the ever impressive mounds. The mounds include a burial ground and a home to a high priestess.

Related: 2012 Atlanta Holiday Theater Preview

Chief Vann House Historic Site
82 Georgia Highway 225 N.
Chatsworth, GA 30705
(706) 695-2598
www.gastateparks.org/chiefvann

Home of Chief Cherokee leader and wealthy businessman James Vann, this home shows the elegance of a late 1700’s, early 1800’s Native American leader. After Vann was murdered in 1809, his son took over the home and family-owned plantation. Possibly a sadder version of this family’s story is how they were evicted from their home as part of the Trail of Tears. However, their home is still in beautiful condition showcasing a floating staircase and rich adornments.

Sautee-Nacoochee Indian Mound
Intersection of Georgia Highways 17 and 75
Helen, GA 30545
(706) 878-2181
www.exploregeorgia.org/Sautee-Nacoochee-Indian-Mound

Many residents may recognize this mound on their trip up to Helen, Georgia as the mound with a white gazebo sitting on top of it. It is an Indian burial ground site that an owner in the 1800s built the gazebo on top of. However, one of the more enchanting stories of this mound is a Romeo-and-Juliet-type story of two Indian lovers, Sautee and Nacoochee, from rival tribes who fell in love. When the lovers decided to tell Nacoochee’s father about it and hoped for reconciliation between the tribes, he ordered Sautee to be thrown off the top of Yonah Mountain with Nacoochee forced to watch. She broke away from those restraining her and they fell to death together. At the bottom of the mountain, their broken bodies landed together. Her father, out of remorse, buried them near the mound in the same embracing hold they died in.

Coyote Trading Company
419 Moreland Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30307
(404) 221-1512
www.coyotetrading.com

Coyote Trading is a retail store in the heart of Little 5 Points that is known for selling authentic Native American handcrafted art and jewelry. It has an assortment of items for sale from books to jewelry to moccasins. It’s worth a trip to pick up a unique item or to do some window shopping. Plus, a visit to Little 5 Points provides a number of unique retails stores to visit such as Junkman’s Daughter and places to grab a bite like an infamous burger at the Vortex.

Stone Mountain Park Indian Festival & Pow-Wow
1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd.
Stone Mountain, GA 30083
(770) 498-5690
www.festivals.stonemountainpark.com

Dates: November 1-4, 2012
Hours: Thursday & Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. 5 p.m.
Price: $10 fee for parking/admission to park

A really cool way to get some exposure to Native American living is to attend a pow-wow. You’ll see amazing costumes, drumming and dancing. You can also build on skill sets like starting a fire, try your hand at bow making or climb into a teepee. The Stone Mountain Park festival is one of the largest in Georgia. However, a quick internet search can list a number of exciting festivals happening throughout the year in various locations.

Related: Best Places For Film Buffs In Atlanta

Stacy Sheets is native to Atlanta. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Stacy is a freelance writer who enjoys keeping abreast on the best Atlanta has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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