In 2008, after the Nanih Waiya Mound was returned to the Choctaw People by the State of Mississippi, the Tribe created Nanih Waiya Day to celebrate the mound’s return. Yesterday, the Tribe celebrated with multiple activities throughout the day.
In the morning, a program at the Ceremonial Mound was held. Chief Cyrus Ben provided remarks on the importance of Nanih Waiya to the Choctaw people. Community flags, including one for Henning, TN, and the United States flag, were presented during a special ceremony by veterans, first responders and active military Tribal members. Chief Ben presented the MBCI flag as Tribal chanters sang. Following the mound ceremony, the first inaugural Nanih Waiya Day youth (seven and eight-year-olds) exhibition game was played at the mound and then a meal including hominy and frybread was served.
“Nanih Waiya is a huge part of our cultural and historical legacy, and to see Tribal members from every community come out to celebrate this legacy is heartwarming,” said Tribal Chief Cyrus Ben. “My hope is that we always remember to commemorate the return of Nanih Waiya to our people as it serves as the cornerstone of historical origination serving as our Tribe’s most prized possessions.”
An inaugural Nanih Waiya Day parade was held this afternoon prior to the 7th Annual Nanih Waiya Day All-Star Game. The All-Star teams, Fichik Malata/Fickik Malata Ohóyo and Fichik Čito/Fichik Čito Ohóyo, consist of the best players selected from the World Series Stickball (WSS) tournament held during the 70th Annual Choctaw Indian Fair.
The winner of the women’s All-Star game, that went into sudden death overtime, was Fichik Čito Ohóyo with a score of 4-3. Kyree Alex-Ben of the Pearl River Community, and a Natives player during the WSS tourney, was named All-Star game MVP. The winner of the men’s All-Star game was Fichik Čito with a score of 14-6. Tobiah Ben of the Pearl River Community, and a Warriors player during the WSS tourney, was named All-Star game MVP.