Native American Heritage

Though many people are familiar with places throughout our state that hold Native American names — including Yalobusha, Itawamba and Mississippi itself — few realize just how many native peoples made their home in our state. Many historians agree that the area now known as Mississippi was home to a greater variety of indigenous tribes than any other southeastern state. Up into the 1700s — when recordkeeping of the region began — local tribes included the Acolapissa, Biloxi and Pascagoula tribes on the Gulf Coast; the Bayougoula, Houma and Natchez tribes on the lower Mississippi; and the Chakchiuma, lbitoupa, Koroa, Ofogoula, Taposa, Tiou, Tunica and Yazoo tribes on the Yazoo River in the Mississippi Delta. The Choctaw inhabited the east central part of the state, while the Chickasaw dwelled in the north and northeast. The original Mississippians were most likely the Choctaw, who date back to the early 1500s. The Choctaw were the most populous by far and remain so to this day.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, descendants of Choctaws who refused to leave their homeland after the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, still live near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Today, the Choctaw Indian Reservation covers 35,000 acres of tribal lands in ten Mississippi counties, and Choctaw is still the first language learned in the home. And, while maintaining such proud traditions, the Mississippi Choctaws have stepped into the future with their own tribal-owned industries.

Visitors to the region can immerse themselves in Choctaw culture by stopping by the Choctaw Heritage Museum or attending the annual Choctaw Indian Fair, which is held every summer in July. This regionally renowned event is host to the World Champion Stickball Games and includes a celebration of tribal music, crafts and traditions.

If you want to come face-to-face with the most impressive landmarks of the ancient past, plan a visit to Mississippi’s mound sites, showcasing well-preserved, Native American mounds built of earth. There are 11 sites across the state. For a full listing, visit www.nps.gov/nr/travel/mounds.

Be sure to check out:

  • RAMCAT RHYTHM & BREWS

    August 5, 2017 - August 5, 2017

    The Delta’s craft beer event, featuring a selection of craft beers, a homebrew competition and live music in downtown’s most historic alley. 662.453.7625

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  • Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival

    August 18, 2017 - August 19, 2017

    On August 18-19 the Fifth Annual Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival, takes place in Downtown Jackson inside the Jackson Convention Complex.  This Boomin’ festival presents a great mix of Rhythm and Blues artists to celebrate Jackson’s rich contribution to the fabric of music. Festivalgoers will experience 30 performances on 5 stages satisfying your senses with a Boomin’ …

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  • PRAIRIE ARTS FESTIVAL

    September 2, 2017 - September 2, 2017

    Held Labor Day Saturday every year in downtown West Point, this family-friendly event has more than 300 vendors of the best handmade crafts and juried fine arts in the South.

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  • 25TH ANNUAL MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST BLUES & HERITAGE FESTIVAL

    September 9, 2017 - September 9, 2017

    Blues festival featuring top blues entertainers. Enjoy music and food.

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  • 33RD ANNUAL DIAMONDHEAD ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR

    September 16, 2017 - September 17, 2017

    Check out one of the best fairs of its kind on the coast! More than 150 art, crafts, and unique gifts vendors and food stands under the trees at the Diamondhead Country Club. Prize raffle. Come inside for lunch specials in the club. Free shuttle from the Diamondhead Shopping Center both days.

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