Return to Coldwater Festival Held in Colbert Co.
Oka Kapassa draws large crowd to Spring Park
the language of his grandmother, Tom Hendrix described the fourth annual
Return to Coldwater Festival — Ishatae.
means a very special day," said Hendrix regarding the event which
was held on September 12 and 13. "The language she spoke was Euchee."
Kapassa, or the Return to Coldwater, was held in Spring Park in
Tuscumbia in Colbert County. The Big Spring site within the park is
regarded as the source of the cold water for which the Indian settlement
gathering included members from more than a dozen Native American tribes
including Alabama, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Coushatta, Creek,
Euchee, Miami, Muscogee, Navajo, Quechua, Seminole and Shoshone.
two-day event featured artists, demonstrators and dancers from across
the country. More than 6,000 people turned out to enjoy Saturday’s
to Hendrix, Friday, Sept. 12, was considered school day. Approximately
700 students from the Shoals area attended a special day geared toward
Kenzie Fowler at Coldwater in Tuscumbia’s Spring Park. Kenzie’s
mother, Kristen, is of the Choctaw and Seminole tribes. Kristen served
as the model for the Sacred Tears statue in the Park.
Tom Hendrix with Bexar
Community farmer Chip Enlow.
explained that teaching our children about their heritage is vital.
the stories fall silent, who will teach the children," he said.
"We all have to do our part."
events were free and open to the public.
said one of the highlights of the festival occurred at dusk on Saturday.
There was a ceremonial torch lighting from canoes around Big Spring.
year’s festival will be held during the second weekend of September.
Hendrix invites everyone to make plans to attend.
artists came to share their crafts and talents with the public.
Following is a brief description of some of the exhibits. The
descriptions were provided by the festival organizers.
• David Eveningthunder
is a self-taught contemporary Native American artist. He traces his
heritage to the Lamhi Band of the Shoshone Nation and is an enrolled
member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
paints and draws in an array of media specializing in portrayals of
contemporary American Indian powwow dancers.
has been recognized as one of the premier Native American artists now
for over 30 years, winning numerous awards and Best of Show at Native
American festivals throughout the U.S.
Noel Grayson is a member of the Western Band of Cherokee Indians and
lives in Talequah, Oklahoma. Noel has been one of the premier native
flintknappers in Oklahoma and is also a part of a widely popular
Southeastern Indian Hunter’s Camp circa 1700-1800.
especially enjoys sharing with children his knowledge of how the Indians
lived off-the-land using primitive techniques to teach.
Lyndon Alec lives in Livingston, Texas, on the Alabama-Coushatta Indian
Reservation and is one of the few remaining Alabama Indians.
is a premier hoop dancer who has performed in England and Australia, and
was featured in the opening of the Goodwill Games in Russia. The hoop
dance is the most difficult of all Native American dances.
The Alabama-Coushatta Dance Troupe is considered to be one of the best
dance troupes in the Southeast. Dances include fancy shawl dance, jingle
dance, eagle dance, butterfly dance, grass dance and Southern shawl
dance. The troupe has won various awards at powwows across the U.S.
Lyndon Alec is a hoop dancer. He is one of a few remaining members of
the Alabama Indian tribe.
Brad Clonch is a self-taught composer and performer who began playing
the piano at age 12. It wasn’t until several years later he decided to
play the flute native to his Choctaw culture. It led to his new release
Noel Grayson enjoys teaching children how his ancestors lived
second album, "Midnight," was a 2002 Native American Music
Award nominee. He has won numerous ADDY awards for production pieces and
Freeman Owle tells traditional Cherokee stories, carves wood and stone,
and talks about Cherokee culture and history. He is a member of the
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
grew up in the Birdtown community where he learned to carve at an early
age. He is a master storyteller, stonecarver and serves on the Board of
Directors of the Qualla Arts and Crafts Guild in North Carolina.
Norma Pinney is half-Creek from Pawhuska, Oklahoma, and is an expert
archer. Norma enjoys teaching how to brain-tan deer skin, and how to
make moccasins, belts, obsidian knives, colorful bows and rivercane
has won the Creek Nation Festival women’s division and Oklahoma state
title in archery.
she can, she loves to bowfish and took the Oklahoma state record for
bowfishing with a 97-pound paddlefish.
also speaks some of the Creek language and understands it when she hears
it spoken. She loves to share with children Native techniques for
Niles Aseret, originally from Arizona, is a full-blooded Navajo who
currently resides in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Niles is one of the
premier Navajo silversmiths who creates unique and one-of-a-kind
jewelry. He incorporates into his work beautiful native stones,
His work is highly sought
after and has won various awards throughout the U.S. His work is both
traditional and contemporary and also has original-designed beadwork.
• Wanda Sylestine is a
member of the Coushatta (Koasati) tribe of Elton, Louisiana. She is
recognized as the premier pine needle basketmaker in the 500 Nations.
The Smithsonian Institute has recorded on film the crafting of her
For more information
about next year’s Return to Coldwater Festival, you may call festival
chairman Terry McGee at (256) 757-4438.
You may also contact the
Colbert County Tourism and Convention Bureau by calling 800-344-0783.