Oka Kapassa Festival keeps nearly 200-year-old promise

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TUSCUMBIA, Ala. – “As long as our nation remains upon the earth, we will recollect Tuscumbia.” A quote from a Creek Indian Chief on the kindness Tuscumbia showed them during the Trail of Tears.

The beat of a drum marks Oka Kapassa, a Creek Indian phrase which means “Return to Coldwater”. Tuscumbia and Spring Park is a special place for American Indians.

“When it is coming from the native people it is coming from their perspective. That is very important, and I tell you here at Tuscumbia they are privileged to have such an event as return to Coldwater,” stated Assistant Chief Lewis Johnson with The Great Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.

This weekend, Indian Nations from across the country are gathering to celebrate and share their heritage.

“That they are actually going to have true native people that are sharing things of their culture. Whether it be in the arts, whether it be in music, whether it be stories; culture from the indigenous people of the American lands and the Indian people,” said Johnson.

Friday morning students from north Alabama were given the chance to experience Indian life and culture. An eye-opening experience for many.

“When I’m hungry I honestly go heat something up in the microwave. So, it would kind of be challenging to have to go out and hunt,” said Layla Hester from Vina Elementary School.

Others wouldn’t mind a change.

“I think it would be pretty cool to live without all this technology and to just have fun,” commented Kenzie Elrod from Vina Elementary School.

An opportunity to get a glimpse into the past – that is cherished today.

The Oka Kapassa Festival begins Saturday morning at 9 in Spring Park in Tuscumbia with demonstrations, storytelling, and music. The grand entry of American Indians is set for 10 a.m.

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