CONTACT: Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 800.648.5381

Tuscumbia’s Annual Native American Celebration Returns September 9-10

Decatur, Ala. – A celebration of the culture and traditions of American Indians who once lived in north Alabama returns this year to downtown Tuscumbia for two days of educational and free family fun. After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Oka Kapassa: Return to Coldwater is set for September 9-10, 2022, with activities taking place in and around Spring Park in downtown Tuscumbia. 

The Oka Kapassa: Return to Coldwater Festival is a free family event featuring Native American heritage, entertainment and education through hands-on activities and demonstrations. Friday, September 9 is school day at the festival. Approximately 1,000 students, from as far away as Walker County in Alabama and southern Middle Tennessee, will attend.

On Friday evening at 5:30 p.m., the Tuscumbia Roundhouse will hold a cultural history event presented by LaDonna Brown of the Chickasaw Nation. This program will be followed by a presentation of Tuscumbia history related to Native Americans and a trolley tour of the Tuscumbia witness sites of the Indian Removal Period. Festival goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Concessions will be available.  

On Saturday, September 10, festivities get underway at 9 a.m. with grand entry at 10:00 a.m. Special crafts, fancy and traditional dance demonstrations, storytelling and music will all be on the agenda and authentic Native American artwork and crafts will be available for purchase.
Several well-known American Indian cooks will attend and prepare foods that were developed by their ancestors. Juanita Gardinski and brother Billy Thompson (Choctaw) are returning to Oka Kapassa to serve delicious and authentic Native American foods such as buffalo stew and burgers, fry bread, Indian tacos, fish and roasted corn. Gardinski will also demonstrate bead work and share Choctaw culture with attendees at Oka Kapassa.

Gina Brown (Chickasaw) will travel from Ada, Okla., her tribal homeland, to cook traditional pashofa, a stew combining pork and cracked corn. This is traditionally cooked for powwow dancers and participants. Cooked in a cast iron pot over an open fire, it is left unseasoned allowing the person eating it to season to their own taste. Mary Newman (Eastern Cherokee) will be demonstrating traditional outdoor cooking of the 1800s, preparing foods in cast iron and clay pots over a campfire. Another popular Native American artisan attending is world-renowned shell carver Dan Townsend. Working almost exclusively in shell, Townsend replicates designs found on many Native American sites from the Mississippian period (1000 to 1600 AD). 

The Coldwater Stagecoach Stop, living history log cabin, 301 S. Dickson St., Tuscumbia, will also be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. 
The daylong event concludes at 6 p.m. Festivalgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Admission is free. For more information, call Colbert County Tourism at 800.344.0783 or 256.383.0783 or visit the Oka Kapassa Festival-Return to Coldwater Facebook page. 

About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state.  It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations, vendors, financial institutions and individuals.  Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available from the AMLA by calling 800.648.5381 or by visiting their web site at  HYPERLINK ""