The annual three-day Native American Cultural Festival is underway at Chehaw.
The festival's first day was filled with education, excitement, style and dancing that all ages could enjoy. Their dancing, their colorful dress, and their drumbeats highlight the culture of these Native Americans.
" That dress and that dancing all has significant meaning, colors have meaning to our people. Everything has a purpose and a meaning," said Cherokee Educator Diamond Go-sti.
Students from around Southwest Georgia watched in awe as native dancers from the Cherokee, Cree and Lakota nations moved to the beat of the drum. For six year old Natalie Carlisle, a hoop dancer stole the show. "It's really cool that she can hold all of those hoops at one time."
Students also got to take pictures with the dancers. Diamond Go-sti wants visitors to embrace and understand that their culture goes beyond the stereotypes portrayed by Hollywood.
"That dancing helps them understand that they don't run around a fire because that's what TV portrayed the Indians long ago, running around a fire hooping and hollering, and we never hit our hand on our lips."
He says the correct term is native, not Indians, and to use the word nations over tribes. Natalie Carlisle says taking care of the Earth is one of the lessons she learned from Go-sti.
"Because if you go and cut down trees it can take homes away from the animals," said Carlisle.
" This is Mother Earth and we took care of it. Mother Earth and we're taught to respect it and to honor it," said Diamond Go-sti.
Gates open tomorrow and Sunday at 9:30. The festival ends at six on Saturday and five on Sunday.