Native American Day at Hand

Thursday, September 12, 2013
Young people from the crowd join in a friendship dance during one of the previous Native American Days at the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott.

Area residents are invited to take a step back in time this Saturday, Sept. 14, as the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum hosts its 10th annual Native American Day. The event will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on the grounds of the museum, located at 1071 Heritage Park Drive in Piggott. The event had originally been planned for Sept. 21, but was changed to the coming weekend due to a conflict in scheduling.

Museum officials note there is no charge for admission to the event; although there will be no house tours offered that day. The annual observance will include several special attractions, activities and demonstrations which seek to illustrate the culture and lifestyle of the Native Americans who once populated the area. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs in order to sit back and enjoy an afternoon of education and entertainment.

Members of Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew #248 will return to demonstrate different styles of Native American dances, one of the most popular features of the annual event. Members of the crew are from the Cape Girardeau area, and have become a crowd favorite over the course of the past decade. They compete and perform nationally, and will be doing a variety of Native American dances. The dancers will perform both individual and group dances, and each performance will include comments from an interpreter, who explains the symbolism of each dance and its story.

The members of the crew will also be setting up an authentic Native American village, complete with tipi and other amenities from a much earlier time in local history.

Another returning favorite is amateur archeologist R. W. "Dub" Lyerly, from Ash Flat. He will once again be answering questions about the early inhabitants of Northeast Arkansas and the tools they left behind. Lyerly will also be available to help identify and discuss artifacts brought to the event by the public.

Flint knappers are also scheduled to demonstrate the process used to make arrowheads, knives and other tools from stone. They'll also talk about the uses of the tools, and how the natives of Northeast Arkansas used them to survive and prosper.

Once again this year Piggott High School art teacher Jerri Tate will be on hand, offering kids the chance to hand-craft a "pinch pot" or primitive form of clay pot. The museum staff will also have free hot dogs and sodas while they last, and the gift shop is offering a special variety of souvenirs priced under $5.

The Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum is home to one of the most extensive privately-held collections of minerals and gems in the world. The museum also features a large collection of Native American artifacts, most of which were gathered in the Piggott area. The late Laws Cargill collected the majority of the artifacts on display, gathering them over the course of several decades. The entire collection was later purchased by Matilda Pfeiffer in an effort to preserve the history for future generations.

The remainder of the year the museum is open for tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Fridays, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Larger groups, of 10 or more, wanting to take the tour are asked to make an appointment in advance.

Those wanting more information on the Native American Day activities, or the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum and Study Center in general, may call them at (870) 598-3228 or visit their website at

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