Muskogee Central High Class of 1967

Still "Doin' It" after all these years (breathing)

Heritage festival preserves cultures

Hoop dancerRope tricksJingle dress

A variety of cultures and history blended together to make Muskogee’s Heritage Days celebration a unique experience.

Families and friends explored the streets surrounding the Three Rivers Museum on Saturday.

Local historian Jonita Mullins said getting to know your heritage is important.

“I think we have to know our history to know where we are going,” Mullins said. “We’ve got some of the best history in the United States right here.”

The Wacoche family said they enjoy attending different types of celebrations of cultures from the area.

“It’s good we are down here celebrating Muskogee,” said Jessica Wacoche.

She and her husband, Willie Wacoche, and their two sons, Inali and Yona, watched the Dancing Eagle perform the “hoop dance” with smiles.

“That’s a really rare dance,” Willie Wacoche said. “Of all the powwows we’ve been to, this is the only time we’ve seen it in person.”

Mike Pahsetopah performed the “hoop dance,” which signifies the circle of life.

“What we are doing is showing that our culture is still alive,” Pahsetopah said. ”We are cultural educators.”

Friends Sammye Rodden and Mary Henderson said it was their first time to attend the Heritage Days celebration.

“Anything that brings your citizens out in a group is always good for the community,” Rodden said.

The women shared an Indian taco and talked about the day. They both said they enjoyed the American Indian dances.

Omar Reed and Sylvester Sallis were stationed on the north side of the museum, dressed in uniforms of the Fort Gibson Company D cavalry.

“We are providing history today,” Sallis said.

The two men were sharing information about the Buffalo soldiers of the Civil War. During Friday night’s celebration, Reed portrayed Bass Reeves, the legendary black deputy U.S. marshal.

“There’s always a need for minorities to be involved in living history,” Reed said.

The Indian Territory Pistoliers entertained the crowd, acting out Wild West saloon shootouts and bank robberies.

On the west side of the museum, arts and crafts and food vendors lined the street. Students from Muskogee Spotlight Rising Stars performed near the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

Ronald Boren said he loved the celebration, especially for the downtown museum district.

Inside the OMHOF, a group of gospel singers were gearing up to perform.

“We’re keeping history alive,” Boren said. “We’re keeping this part of Muskogee going.”

Reach E.I. Hillin at (918) 684-2926 or

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