Grand Village of Natchez Indians
The Grand Village is a 128-acre site featuring three prehistoric Native American mounds, a reconstructed Natchez Indian house, museum (accredited by the American Association of Museums), and gift shop. Normal hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1:30 – 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Group tours are available by appointment, and the Grand Village also offers educational programs for school and adult groups by prior arrangement. Call 601-446-6502 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Two of the mounds, the Great Sun’s Mound and the Temple Mound, have been excavated and rebuilt to their original sizes and shapes. A religious structure once stood atop the Temple Mound and housed bones of previous chiefs (called Suns). A sacred perpetual fire was kept in the Temple’s inner sanctum, symbolic of the sun, from which the royal family had descended.
A third mound, called the Abandoned Mound, has been only partially excavated. After three major archaeological excavations at the Grand Village by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, no further digging investigations are planned for the site. The unexcavated areas of the site will be preserved intact, representing a sort of “time capsule” from the Natchez Indians’ past.
Additional features of the site include a nature trail, a “Touch Table” for children, and a Visitor Center with gift shop featuring Native American crafts.
The Natchez Indians inhabited what is now southwest Mississippi ca. AD 700-1730, with the culture at its zenith in the mid-1500s. Between 1682 and 1729 the Grand Village was their main ceremonial center, according to historical and archaeological evidence. French explorers, priests, and journalists described the ceremonial mounds built by the Natchez on the banks of St. Catherine Creek, and archaeological investigations produced additional evidence that the site was the place that the French called “the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.”
During the period that the Natchez occupied the Grand Village, the French explored the region and began to make settlements. Relations between the French and the Natchez were cordial at first, but deteriorated as various disagreements and episodes of violence arose in 1716 and again in 1723. In 1729, a pro-English element within the tribe led the Natchez to attack the French colonial plantations and military garrison at Fort Rosalie. The French retaliated in such force that the Natchez were forced to abandon their homeland.
The Grand Village is host to the annual Natchez Powwow, which features traditional Native American dancing, foods, crafts and more. Descendants of the Natchez Indians and others from around the country attend the weekend-long event each spring. Patterned after powwows in Oklahoma, the Natchez Powwow has become a tradition in the Natchez area, linking our modern society with the area’s past cultures and the rich legacy of the Natchez Indians. Over the years, Natchez Powwow participants have represented many Native American tribes including: Natchez, Ponca, Comanche, Creek, Cherokee, Shawnee-Quapaw, Delaware, Oto, Osage, Mississippi Choctaw, Coushatta, Cheyene, Potowatami, Navajo, and Sac Fox.
Each fall, Grand Village hosts its annual Student Days event for elementary school students, teachers and parents. Activities include crafts and flint-knapping demonstrations, Native American tools and weapons, traditional native homes, storytelling and more.
For further information, contact:
Grand Village of the Natchez Indians
400 Jefferson Davis Boulevard
Natchez, MS 39120
tel (601) 446-6502
fax (601) 446-6503
Directions: In Natchez, turn off U.S. Highway 61 (known as Seargent S. Prentiss Drive within the city limits), at Jefferson Davis Boulevard just south of the Natchez Regional Medical Center. Proceed on Jefferson Davis Boulevard to the entrance gate of the Grand Village, at the end of the street on the right.