OKMULGEE, Oklahoma – Sixth Street in Downtown Okmulgee was buzzing with spectators excited to see the annual Muscogee (Creek) Nation Festival Parade on June 25. This year’s parade was particularly special because event planners had not been able to host it in over two years due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The parade began at Okmulgee street and followed Sixth Street east to Muskogee street.
MCN leaders and tribal employees representing various departments were featured in the parade driving cars, trucks, motorcycles, and floats. Principal Chief David Hill and Second Chief Del Beaver were seen toward the front, tossing out candy.
Parade entries included the MCN Honor Guard, the Living Legends Class of 2022, the Pride of Sequoyah Marching Band, and the Muscogee Honor Riders.
MCN Departments that participated included the Executive Branch, National Council, College of the Muscogee Nation, Environmental Services, Veteran Affairs, Mvskoke Media, EMS, and Lighthorse Police.
Muscogee Royalty Tema Yargee and Chanoa Barnett were seen riding a horse-drawn carriage. Previous Muscogee Royalty were also featured. Royalty from the Seminole and Haskell Indian Nations made an appearance as well.
Other major appearances included musicians Lil Mike, Funny Bone, and Sten Joddi from the Hulu Television Series “Reservation Dogs.”
Although temperatures reached the upper 90s on Saturday morning, that did not stop the Nation from celebrating, according to MCN GIS Cultural Specialist Gano Perez.
“We have our people that are active, getting together, and we’re still doing things,” Perez said. “It’s hot weather, but it just shows all the dedication of the people who come out and put their time in.”
Spectators of all ages, including MCN citizens and the Okmulgee community, lined up along Sixth Street to watch the colorful parade vehicles pass by. The street was littered with candy, t-shirts, wristbands and other freebies tossed out at the parade.
Members from other tribes were also in attendance, including the Cherokee and Seminole Nations.
Elizabeth Deere was one of the spectators in attendance. She said she enjoys the arts and crafts and the friendly people the parade attracts. “You see your friends, your old friends, your new friends, and it is really, really awesome, and I look forward to it and hope they keep having it,” Deere said.
MCN Citizens like Speedy Harley were grateful to attend the parade after missing it for so long. “It’s like everybody’s been cooped up in a house the last year and a half or two,” Harley said. “Then we finally met here today at the parade, and we saw kinfolk and friends we’ve been reacquainted with.”
“The sense of community, everybody coming together, meeting up, seeing old friends, it’s always good to visit and be amongst our own people.” – Gano Perez
MCN Citizens and event organizers agreed one of the key highlights of the parade is fellowship.
“Us as a people, it’s always good to see each other, ” Perez said. “The sense of community, everybody coming together, meeting up, seeing old friends, it’s always good to visit and be amongst our own people.”
When spectators were asked what their favorite parade entries were, answers ranged from the Diabetes Program, the MCN Honor Guard, and the Lighthorse Police Vehicles.
The Festival continued with events Saturday, including the fun fair and the Living Legends Softball Reunion.
To see Mvskoke Media’s coverage of the 2022 Muscogee (Creek) Nation Festival, visit: https://www.mvskokemedia.com/?s=Festival.