rolling thunder american indian pow-wow
  native american events sponsors school programs native american photos american indian contact rolling thunder links to native american sites  
rolling thunder indian festivals




Is everyone welcome and is it for all ages? 

Yes, everyone is welcome and the festival is suitable for all ages.


What is the admission?

Adults: $15 - 13yrs & up   Kids: $5 - 6yrs-12yrs   Kids: 5yrs & under - FREE


What are your hours?

Saturday: 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. – Sunday: 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.    Rain or Shine unless it is a torrential downpour.


How can I get tickets?

Tickets can be purchased at the gate.


Is there an ATM on site?



Will you honor a personal check?

No, sorry, we do not accept checks


Do you serve food and drinks at the festival?

We have the very best of Indian fry bread, Indian tacos, 100% buffalo burgers, roasted corn, Williamson Brothers BBQ and some of your favorite Americana foods.


Do you allow alcoholic beverages?

NO! Sorry, out of respect for some of our cultural observances and assuring we remain tastefully in keeping with a family event; we stress a weekend of shared sobriety and Good Spirit. When you hear and feel the drums you will cop a natural buzz like no other, guaranteed!


Can we bring a cooler or picnic basket?

We do not allow for carry-in food or drink for the sole purpose of protecting the interest of the unique and professional concessionaires we have invited. This also keeps us from having to monitor coolers and baskets for alcohol, etc. We had rather place our energy towards hosting our guests in a relaxed and safe environment opposed to the invasive airport security effect. It is also our goal to offer a cultural experience that reaches all six senses including your taste buds.


Are there arts and crafts for sale?

Yes! We have some of the finest Native American and non-Native artisans and crafters on the Powwow Trail and where we monitor our crafters on the merits of their wares, we stress for the buying audience to share in our oversight.  Where we are not opposed to foreign trade, we showcase Indigenous wares of the Americas, hence the theme of our event, not Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan or the Philippines. To learn more about the American Indian Arts and Crafts Act, GOOGLE: P.L 101-644

NOTE: The Arts & Crafts Law has been revised but still has loopholes big enough to drive a truck through. However, it is a start towards protecting the integrity of a peoples' cultural mainstay. It is the responsibility of each non-enrolled artist/crafter and/or the event producer to display a disclaimer stating, “Where our crafts may be of Native American origin, they may or may not, necessarily be Native American made”. This does not mean the crafter or artist is not Indian or has Indian descent but does allow for the purchaser, collector, and consumer to assess their investment accordingly.


Can I bring my dog?

We love dogs but unfortunately Boling Park has a no dog policy; this does not apply to guide dogs.


It’s not your dog but is the next person that messes it up for the rest of us. Either way, where some of those manly breeds may be the sweetest dogs of all, we are not set up to do a background check on the dog or its owner so please understand our position. We are hoping to have an alternative kennel available just outside the gate to prevent pets from being left in a vehicle. If and when this becomes available we will announce it on our website ASAP.


Will there be a first-aid station and security on site?

Yes! We are fortunate enough to have some of the best FIRST RESPONDERS available with our Premier Sponsor being, ADVANCED AMBULANCE. Scott Rutledge and Advanced Ambulance have been longtime supporters of Native America and community affairs and Advanced Ambulance's beyond the call of duty EMTs and mobile transport vehicles have become a recognizable icon at Rolling Thunder events.


Can my business or organization sponsor a Native American?

Yes, we have a handsome sponsorship incentive plan that allows for high visibility and VIP packages. We value your support so please inquire at and check the sponsor page for more information.


Is the venue wheelchair assessable?

The venue is outdoors and relatively flat. However, the majority of the festival is on grass or semi-hard dirt. Unless there has been any real quantity of rain, which could alter the maneuverability of a self-propelled wheelchair, we would suggest having a second party in case the grounds become task oriented. We are also looking to have several scout troops with us who will respectfully lend to the needs of those requiring such.


Is there handicap parking?

We have a limited amount of handicap parking that we reserve for those who drive themselves as we stress that those who are driving friends or family that are in wheelchairs, drop them off at the entrance gate and then park in general parking. This will help us assure our physically impaired drivers are capable of utilizing the minimized handicap spaces.


Tell me about general parking?

Parking has always been our logistical focus at Boling Park due to the size of the festival. Scout Troop 241 of Cherokee County has done an excellent job in conducting traffic flow and where they work hard to accommodate our guest in the lower lots, they quickly revert to the upper school lots once the lower lots are filled. Parking is FREE but Boy Scout Troop 241 has a one-dollar donation bucket should you elect to accommodate them accommodating you. Cherokee High School along with other local lots lend to overflow and our Powwow Shuttle busses and shuttle carts help transport folks wanting to put their thumb out. Feel free to walk a few feet while remembering those that endured the infamous “Trail of Tears”. Just follow the drums!


Where do motorcycles park?

We love our friends on their War Ponies and we recognize their longtime support to thousands of causes as well as their relation to tribal communion, a shared quest of freedom and brotherhood. All motorcycles can park right up front by the entry gate where they and our Regulators can keep a keen eye on the Iron Horses.


How about seating?

We do have some bleacher seating but you are welcome to bring a fold-up lawn chair in case the bleachers are full. Umbrellas are welcome as well should you be seeking additional shade other than that around the trees.


Can we set up a canopy around the dance arena?

It has been customary for tribal elders to have a shade arbor around traditional dance arenas and ceremonial grounds and we still accommodate our elders with such today. However, other than our elders or physically impaired, we only allow our staff photographer, Betty Frady and our soundman to have an arena side canopy to assure that those in bleachers have fair and adequate visibility of our weekend’s festivities. Please work with us on this.


Can we bring a camera or video-cam?

YES, we encourage our guests to leave with as many favorable memories as possible, which includes those on film. That said it is important to remember when taking a close up of an individual it is common courtesy to ask for a picture. Also, many of the competitors and/or performers are professionals so please refrain from using their likeness commercially unless the subject has agreed upon it.  You may hear the Emcee ask that those with cameras refrain from video, etc. during a particular ceremony but this will be repeated prior to the given affair so we appreciate your adherence should such occur.


Do you have kids activities?

Outside of the cultural happenings, we will have a bungee jump, a rock wall, Wayne’s Train and pony rides. We try to make sure we do not lose the integrity of the theme by incorporating cotton candy and ferris wheels but we have yet to hear the words, “I’m bored” at the powwow.


Will there be special event t-shirts, etc.?

Yes, Thunder Roads produces the finest quality event shirts around and their commemorative powwow shirts are a reason by themselves to attend the Coosawattee Indian Festival & Powwow. Don’t leave without one!


How about smoking?

We realize others are still fighting the habit and since this is an outdoor event, we tolerate smoking and do not condone it nor demonize it. However, we attempt to be eco-friendly and would value those that smoke to treat their cigarette butts as litter opposed to biodegradable, which they are not. Well at least not for many, many, MANY years.  Plus, I am the one that has to pick them up. In short, “Don’t put your butt in my Mother’s face and I won’t put mine in yours.”


What if I decide to stay overnight, are there local hotels?

There are indeed plenty of hotels throughout Canton. Please check our website for listings.


Can I camp on the festival grounds?

No, due to armed security requirements after hours- we have a responsibility to our vendors to keep a sharp eye on their wares throughout the night, the only ones permitted to camp within the grounds are our contracted primitive skills educators, dancers and vendors who also have to stay in a designated area away from the secured perimeter.


Are there any campgrounds around?

Sweetwater Campground 1400 Field's Chapel Road, Canton, GA 30114  (678)721-6700


What will we see at the festival?

You will see a full array of Native American singers, dancers, drummers, artists, crafters and primitive skills artists. There will be numerous dance styles performed along with Native Americans representing several tribes wearing a diverse and colorful assortment of regalia. Witness the spectacular Aztec Fire Dance and the ever-amazing Hoop Dance. Watch as warriors on horseback battle it out in a high-energy version and reenactment known as the Shield Dance or Sneak Up. You will meet a few figures that have performed in different feature films and television shows.


Can we participate in any of the activities?

Yes, we will host several dance games and friendship dances throughout the weekend that require audience participation. There is no need to be shy as Native America was founded on the understanding of our relationship with one another and good times and laughter are the best medicine on earth. You are going to love it because you can wander through all the cool primitive skills village sites where you can learn or participate in earth cooking, flint napping, archery, blowgun demonstrations, fire-by-friction, brain tanning and lots more.


Is there anything we should refrain from?

Yes, there are a few things that I feel you should know just as you might explain if you were to invite me to a Bar Mitzvah or a Baptism. The truth is, using common sense and the general decency that you use in your everyday life will suffice, as we do not invite our guests and newfound friends out to tippy-toe around on the eggshells of political correctness.  Personally, many of us are Braves fans and where there may have been a few commercial indiscretions that are culturally demeaning, Rolling Thunder Enterprises and many of our friends utilize these socials to not only entertain but to educate and we appreciate your open hearts and minds in the midst of our showing you a really great time. Below are just a few things I will share for the heck of it and where they may not be directed at you, some of the words are facetiously written in part.


Please do not touch a dancer’s regalia (outfit) and especially do not touch their feathers (taboo).


Anytime you take a close-up photograph of someone, it is appropriate to ask. For the most part, if they are not busy or lending their time to someone else, they will probably oblige you. If for some reason they elect not to, do not take it personally, as there are many variables that may lend to their not affording the opportunity other than them being a jerk or anti-social. Remember, even you may wish to be reserved from time to time.


Most native people have already heard all the silly Indian jokes and most have names and do not subscribe to being called Chief, Pocahontas, Tonto, etc. so please introduce yourself and ask their name if you like.


Indian people are not impressed with non-Natives with self-anointed names such as Little Bear, Golden Dove, Running Wolf and so on. They are equally unimpressed with state Cherokee tribes as there are only three legitimate Cherokee tribes and none of them are in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia or elsewhere.  Two of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes are in Oklahoma and the other one is on the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina. If you claim Cherokee ancestry, so be it but know there is a responsibility that comes with such a claim and that is to shy away from those who defraud the same people they say they love while creating their own silly little tribes instead of merely taking pride in their lineage while supporting the interest of those who paid so dearly to remain culturally identifiable.


Since you asked-

There are plenty of people of mixed descent in America and many of these people may have some Indian blood. However, where Native Americans may appreciate the interest that has arisen throughout the years regarding a newfound love of ancestral lineage be it Indian, Irish or Italian, they have become a bit worn with the great-grandmother princess stories. This is not out of their ill regard to relate but moreso to the fact that the deliverer of such well intended news cannot relate.  Over the years, powwows, motion pictures and other romanticized versions of Native America have inadvertently created tribes, medicine men and even chiefs that “real” tribes never needed, wanted, asked for or condone. Suggestively, come out and join us as you are and leave feeling better about who we all are, collectively, as there is an old saying “One percent Indian, one hundred percent proud” but the truth is, you do not have to have a drop of one culture to appreciate another and that’s what makes it so cool to have everyone join in the circle and intertribal dances.  The next time we see a newcomer to the circle return to a powwow gathering, it would be nice to see them dressed as they were the first time and not in a nauhga-hide Indian suit shaking a stick with a dead animal on the end of it.  Everyone is invited, as stated earlier, but whomever it was that said, "When in Rome, do, as the Romans do" probably weren't from Rome!  You do not have to be an Indian to let your hair down and have a good time.


What name do I use to refer to Native Americans, American Indians, Indians or…?

Well, the truth is, they are all incorrect yet they are all readily used by non-Indians as well as Indians themselves. Your question is a fair one but until there is a general consensus by North America’s original landlords as to what, if any, name they want to collectively be referred to, all of the above are legitimate referrals if delivered respectfully. Some individuals may prefer to be recognized by their tribal affiliations and others may prefer First Nations, Indigenous American, etc. but Indians by virtue of rhetoric antiquity call one another Indian so loosen up and have fun!  After all, you are at a festival not a snake shaking ceremony.


*Where Indian women were called the S-word in movies and on television, please refrain from using this word as it is derived from a less than savory term relative to genitalia and does not sit well with Native people that are educated to its derivative.  Yeah that’s it all right.  (Squaw)

*Indians have names like John, Joe, Billy, Sue, Mary and a whole book full of Christian influenced names as well as traditional namesakes, so please introduce yourself and don’t be surprised if their name is simply, Fred.


Is the festival Rain or Shine?

Yes, it is an outdoor show and where we may have to take a break should there be any large amounts of rainfall, we have learned that spring often lends to beautiful weather with an occasional sun shower but we are excited about a beautiful weekend of feast and fellowship and are not in the habit making rain or running from it. That said, the Creator is in charge so we can only deliver in conjunction with good judgment meaning, torrential downpours, lightning, and thunderstorms in NDN talk means, “Run like heck and take cover!”


Like I said, let's not take each other so seriously and we will all have a great time. See you at the powwow!!




Return to Event Info


live buffalo indian dance native american art