The 2011 Festival theme, “The Tribes Remain: Contemporary Southeastern Indian Cultures,” is a celebration of the resilient cultures of a vibrant people. Southeastern Indians, including the Oklahoma tribes removed from the region, share their traditional cultures with the Louisiana tribes. It is important to the tribal people that non-tribal people know that they maintain and treasure their cultures. They repeatedly say, “We remain.” In spite of centuries of struggle, the American Indians of Louisiana and their neighbors have maintained arts, music, and lore.
The Festival audience at the 2011 Festival will have a rare opportunity to experience the traditional arts of many different American Indian peoples in narrative sessions, crafts demonstrations, and performances of storytelling and tribal songs. Traditional singing and dancing groups will include the Mystic Wind Choctaw Social Dance Troupe, the Jena Band of Choctaw Traditional Dancers, the Chickasaw Nation Dance Troupe, and the Caddo Culture Club, as well as a Koasati Stomp Dance. Festival performers will also present a drum session, a style show, a cooking demonstration, and American Indian hand games. There will also be an outdoor exhibition match of a traditional stickball game.
On Saturday, at 3 p.m., Louisiana Public Broadcasting will present the documentary “Native Waters: A Chitimacha Recollection” featuring members of the tribe such as Chairman John Darden, Cultural Director Kimberly S. Walden and Banner-Tribune staffer Roger Stouff.
Chairman Darden, a traditional basket weaver, is slated to be one of the guest crafts people.
The 2011 Festival will provide a much needed opportunity for the Festival audience to glimpse the tremendous beauty and significance of these sometimes hidden tribal cultural arts in Louisiana. In addition, the Festival will also include music by (among other performers) Knight Train, bluegrass with Reasonable Facsimile, Richard Smith and Julie Adams, Hardrick Rivers and the Rivers Revue Band, Cajun music by the LakeSide Gamblers, Cocoa Creppel, the Treater Band, Willis Prudhomme & Zydeco Express, the Back Porch Band, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, T-Salé, the Jambalaya Cajun Band with D.L. Menard, and Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie! In addition, the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship will be held during the Folk Festival.
On Saturday, July 16, the Folk Festival will host the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship from 8 a.m. to noon in Magale Recital Hall. Fiddlers from around the state will compete for cash prizes and ribbons in two main categories – Non-Championship Division and Championship Division. Fiddlers are welcome to enter in either division but not both. Those who enter the Championship Division will compete for the Grand Champion title. Alternatively, the Non-Championship Division is not competitive for the state championship. The two top fiddlers from each group in the Championship Division will compete for cash prizes and the opportunity to be recognized as the state’s best fiddler. At 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, the winner will perform on the Festival’s main stage in Prather Coliseum.
Sessions presented during the weekend include topics such as Native American languagues, pottery, wood working, basketry, medicine, foods, games, storytelling, music and dance and film.
A stickball – a Native American game – demonstration will be played by the Mississippi Choctaw Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
There is also a kids’ area Saturday only, with activities such as stringing beads, molding animals from clay and making Native American musical instruments.
Dozens of crafts people have been invited, both Native and non-indigenous.
The festival will be held in the Student Union on the campus of NSU in Natchitoches.
Festival hours are Friday, from 4:30 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Admission is $8 for all events Saturday, $5 for 5 p.m. until close Saturday, and $11 for both days, available in advance only. Children 12 and under enter free.
More information at: