By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
The sound of a soothing pipe, backed up by the pounding of tom-toms and voices filling the air with Native American songs, will lead hundreds to the trail.
That trail begins when you turn off U.S. 25W and follow the path to the Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum Festival this weekend.
It’s the fifth annual event for the festival, which features their popular “Pow Wow.” It all takes place Saturday and Sunday at the festival site, located at 4116 Cumberland Falls Highway (U.S. 25W), west of Corbin.
While the pow wow is Saturday and Sunday, the festival starts out first with a Bluegrass concert at the site Friday at 7 p.m. It features Morehead State University’s “Mountain Music Ambassadors” and Eastern Kentucky University’s “Appalachian Stage Band.”
On Saturday the gates open at 10 a.m., with the Grand Entry starting at noon. The gates open Sunday at noon, with the Grand Entry at 1 p.m.
Admission to the Pow Wow is $5, with children under 12 admitted free. In addition, there’s free admission for military personnel and veterans when they provide a proper ID.
“We’ll have four or five different Native American nations this weekend, and along with the music, dancing, demonstrations, vendors and exhibits, this is always a great time to bring people together. A lot of southeastern Kentuckians have Cherokee heritage, and it gives people a chance to learn about the Native American heritage and culture. They learn what differences and similarities there are among the different cultures and hopefully it brings about understanding of others,” said Ken Phillips, CEO of the Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum.
As in years past, music, dancing and stories will be a big part of the pow wow, with entertainment provided by the Native American Drums and the Medicine Ridge Singers of Cherokee, N.C. Robert Mullinax, of Corbin, will play the flute and Sacred Bear, also of Cherokee, N.C., will be the host drummer, while Kicking Eagle provides the stories, with Head Man Dancer, Emerson Bagay, and Head Lady Dancer, Kelly Dukepoo, leading the Native American dances. The All Nations Warrior Society Honor Guard from Cherokee, N.C., will also be on hand for the pow wow, which will honor the nation’s veterans.
This year’s event will also feature a special guest.
Larry Sellers, an actor and stuntman of Osage-Cherokee-Lakota heritage, is best known playing the role of Cloud Dancing on the 1990s CBS TV series, “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” Sellers also performed in movies such as “Wayne’s World II,” “Revolution,” “Like Father Like Son,” and “The Quick and the Dead.” On TV, he was in the made-for-TV movie “The Gambler III — The Legend Continues,” as well as shows such as “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “The Sopranos,” “Beverly Hills 90210” and the daytime drama “General Hospital.”
Sellers was born and raised in Pawhuska, Okla., located northwest of Tulsa in the northern part of the Sooner State.
The pow wow also features Native American vendors and demonstrations, as well as contests including the “Luck of the Draw Prizes for Dancers.” Pony rides for the children and a petting zoo will be provided, with pony rides at $3 each.
The pow wow is part of the Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum Festival, and is supported by the Kentucky Arts Council. The state arts agency provides operating support to the museum with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
In July, the state arts council awarded a $11,895 grant to the museum to continue their efforts. Based in Corbin, the Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum is a mobile museum that travels to schools, festivals and other events around the state and region.
If you need more information on the pow wow, call 606-528-6342, or go the festival’s website at www.knahm.org.