OKMULGEE, Okla. – This year’s Second Annual Gathering of Communities occurred on Sept. 9. Everyone from across the reservation was welcome to enjoy a day of fun. The event incorporated family-friendly games for all ages and live entertainment. There were different activities such as super chief wiffle ball classic, lumberjack attack, a mechanical bull, bungee basketball, and miniature golf. The event was held at the Muscogee Nation Omniplex.
Muscogee (Creek) Nation Community Research and Development Specialist J.R. Wind (Mvskoke) spoke about how the gathering of communities resonates as a big family reunion. This started last year when MCN Second Chief Del Beaver mentioned how there needed to be an outreach event for the communities.
The different communities that attended were able to catch up with members from other communities.This involved sharing ideas with one another, and simply enjoying each other’s company.
Last year’s turnout saw around 500 citizens. According to Wind, they expected to exceed that number. Wind made this a free event because he wanted everyone to participate in the event’s activities.
“Somebody said ‘what if 50 people show up’, well then 50 people had fun. But we were very excited about it. About a little over 500 showed up last year, which I was happy about so I am hoping to get over 500 + this year,” Wind said.
Different departments set up their booths at the event, making it more of a “miniature resource fair” according to Wind. Wind’s initial goal for the resource booths was for others to get exposure to tribal departments that may not be well-known to citizens.
There were new activities featured at this year’s gathering, such as the lumberjack attack, a mechanical bull, and ax throwing. Activities like ax throwing had age restrictions for attendees 16 or older. Live entertainment included local music groups Mvskoke Sunrise and Freeway Jam.
When selecting activities to provide at the event, Wind got feedback from his department and maintenance workers to gauge what worked from last year and what did not. Wind’s team explored new ideas to see what would serve citizens best.
The super chief wiffle ball classic was named after Allie Reynolds (Mvskoke). Reynolds’ was nicknamed “Super Chief” and played for the New York Yankees in the major leagues, even winning the world series at one point.
This year the community boards faced off against the MCN National Council in the super chief wiffle ball classic.
Chair volleyball and cornhole required registration in order to maintain team brackets. Unfortunately, the cornhole tournament reached its maximum capacity due to its popularity. According to Wind, last year saw over 50 teams compete, resulting in longer tournament times.
Wind brought in American food trucks for this year’s event. It was served on a first-come-first-serve basis. Last year’s vendors completely sold out. “We actually sold out of food and everyone had a great time. Going into it for the first time you’re not sure of what to expect,” Wind said.
Wind did not grow up attending these types of gatherings. The closest thing he experienced growing up was family reunions. Wind was grateful for the opportunity for his department to take part in the event.
Last year Wind reported seeing citizens speak in the Mvskoke language. According to Wind, they were laughing and enjoying the event by meeting their friends or making new friends.
Now that the gathering of communities has been hosted twice, Wind wants it to become an annual event. “We would like to make it an every year event so hopefully every year we get bigger and bigger,” Wind said.
“We’re all grateful that this was something that was suggested, we just picked up the ball and went with it, so I’m thankful we are able to do it,” Wind said. “We have a great staff here, I really enjoy working with them and doing these kind of things.”
When planning the date for the gathering, Wind looks at other festivals that will occur around the same time. This includes Cherokee days or Seminole Nation days. “We didn’t want to make people choose to go to different festivals, so we are keeping it in the middle and it’s a free event so no one has to worry about spending money,” Wind said.
Wind tries to provide other activities throughout the year for the communities, such as the Halloween decorating contest.
For those that have any questions or do not know which community they reside in, they can contact the MCN Community Research and Development department at 918-732-7963.
Creek War Cornhole Tournament:
1st Place: Dustin Rivas/Amber Riddle
2nd Place: Daylen James/Madison Proctor
3rd Place: Brian Proctor/Joe Jackson
House of Warriors Chair Volleyball Tournament
Overall Champion: Muscogee Indian Community team
2nd Overall: Wetumka Indian Community
3rd Overall: Glenpool Indian Community