Explore Georgia’s Past at Ocmulgee Indian Festival

Most Georgians know about our state’s more modern history, from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, but the land is rich with history stretching back 17,000 years. On today’s Around Atlanta segment of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio, Ruth Sykes from the Ocmulgee National Monument board joins co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick to talk about the Ocmulgee Indian Festival and other ways to explore Georgia’s long history.

The Ocmulgee National Monument is a 700-acre park commemorating Native Americans in Georgia maintained by the National Park Service. Sykes says that five different Native American people lived here, from the Paleo-Indians to the Mississippians who built the mounds visitors can still visit today. One of the mounds is an earth lodge whose floor celebrated its 1,000th birthday this year. Sykes also says that during the 1930s, as part of the WPA, civilian archeologists learned their trade by participating in a dig here, the largest east of the Mississippi River at the time.

To mark the rich history of Native Americans, the monument sponsors a festival every year where members of these tribes return to their ancestral home. On September 16 and 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. guests can walk the 6 miles of trails, watch dances, hear music and enjoy authentic food. Vendors will be on hand, and craftspeople will teach attendees about their work.

Admission is $6 and under with free parking and free shuttles, making the festival  an affordable and culturally deep experience. Sykes says that in addition to the festival, other special events occur throughout the year. Her favorite is in March, during cherry blossom blooming. Visitors arrive at night and are given live-flame lanterns, then guided by park rangers on “paths the Ancients walked.”

Listen to today’s segment to learn more and visit the website for details.


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