The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (Choctaw Nation) held its annual Labor Day Festival on the capital grounds of the Council House built in 1884 at Tuskahoma (Tvshka Homma), August 31 to September 4, 2017. I was happy to be there along with approximately 250,000 other folks to enjoy music, culture, food, fun, and family.
If you like country and gospel music, you were in for a real treat with great performers filling the air with music every day. I particularly enjoyed listening to the legendary Alabama on Saturday night, sitting with my cousins near the Choctaw Amphitheater while an almost-full moon glowed overhead and a slight breeze cooled my face.
Naturally, I toured the arts & crafts building, lingering over goat-milk soap, Choctaw oil paintings of traditional scenes, hand-made furniture, Western books, turquoise and beaded jewelry, hand-thrown pottery, and so much else. I resisted taking home the entire lot of gorgeous items, but it wasn’t easy.
County fair-type food was there in abundance. I enjoyed traditional Indian Tacos made with fry bread topped by meat, onion, lettuce, tomato, and hot sauce. Of course, I also had to have grilled corn-on-the-cob. If I went even more decadent like the fried cheese cake, I’ll never admit it. Let’s just say everything I tried was delicious . . . and I waited an appropriate time before venturing to the wide variety of exhilarating carnival rides.
With so much going on for so many days, I can’t possibly pick my favorite, so I’ll just list a few of the fun events: 5K race, gourd dancing, horseshoe tournament, volley ball, basketball, fast-pitch, terrapin race, buffalo tours, art show, storytelling, rabbit stick throw, mobile library, domino/checker tournament, quilt show, bow shoot, golf tournament, Choctaw dancers, and stickball tournament. Okay, I really like to watch stickball (similar to lacrosse) partly because it’s an ancient game of the Americas that at one time was used to decide the outcome of disputes between nations.
As always happens, the festival eventually came to an end with lots of happy folks heading out to their lives across the country while knowing they’d be back in another year to celebrate together again.
Kim Redford is an acclaimed, bestselling author of Western romance novels. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos for inspiration. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at Kim Redford.