Mother’s Day Sunday is on our minds here at GPB. And we have found a unique way to celebrate moms this weekend. It’s the 24th annual Cherokee County Indian Festival and Mother’s Day PowWow. It’s an inter-tribal event, where Native Americans take part in traditional dancing, singing and drumming.
Thunder Pinard and Jacqueline Gordon participate in the Festival each year. They say it is an important part of maintaining their Indian heritage. It is also a chance to show other Georgians what Native American culture has to offer.
An important part of that culture is honoring Mother Earth.
Pinard says " Mother Earth is what bears us. It's where we come from, it's what feeds us. The role of Mother Earth keeps us warm and it's what keeps us alive."
Gordon says they don't worship the Earth, but they view it as their mother. She says in PowWows and other events they honor the Earth through prayer.
"A lot of the dancing that we do is in prayer. The drumbeat that you hear in the ring, in the circle, represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth. That is another way that we respect Mother, in that we remember Mother." she says.
This year's Festival will honor The Beloved Woman. In Cherokee culture, a woman who has earned that title has performed a great deed or won the respect of the tribe. Cherokee women would decide when the men would go to war. And The Beloved Woman in the tribe could spare a captive's life if that captive was scheduled to be killed.
The Cherokee believe that the Creator spoke to the Beloved Woman.
There are 562 federally recognized tribes within the U.S. Gordon says each tribe has a different view of the role of women. Pinard says in general, Native Americans see mothers in the same way they see Mother Earth. Mothers are the heartbeat of the family.
You can listen to our Online Extra to hear Pinard and Gordon talk about the importance of maintaining their Indian heritage.