Grand Village of the Natchez Indians is located at Jefferson Davis Boulevard in Natchez, Mississippi. Visitors can access the site by turning off U.S. Highway 61, known as Sergeant S. Prentiss Drive within the city limits, at Jefferson Davis Boulevard just south of the Natchez Regional Medical Center. Admission is free with visiting hours 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 1.30pm to 5pm on Sunday, whilst group tours are available by appointment.
The Natchez Indian culture began as early as 700 AD and lasted until the 1730's when the tribe was dispersed in a war with the French. The Natchez were successful farmers growing corn, beans and squash and they also hunted, fished and gathered wild plant foods to feed the tribes. During the French colonial period the Grand Village was the main ceremonial center of the Natchez Indians between 1682 and 1730, when they inhabited what is now southwest Mississippi.
The Grand Village is a 128 acre site featuring a museum, a reconstructed Natchez Indian house and three ceremonial mounds. There is also a nature trail, a "Touch Table" for children and a Visitor Center with gift shop selling amongst other things Native American crafts. Throughout the year there are various public events and presentations at the site including storytelling, living history reenactments, a museum discovery week for children, a summer film series and the annual Natchez Powwow, which is usually held in late March and involves Native American dancing, food and crafts.
The mounds served as bases for sacred buildings and were constructed by the tribe members. Two of the three mounds, the Great Sun's Mound and the Temple Mound, were excavated and rebuilt to their original shapes and sizes for visitors to now enjoy. The third mound, called the Abandoned Mound, has been only partially excavated and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History does not plan any further digging investigations.
The museum exhibits both French and Native American artifacts and offers educational programs about the history, culture and archeology of the period when these two groups interacted together. These programs also focus on the French colonial experience and offer information brochures in English and French. Much of the knowledge of that period has been garnered from a wealth of colonial documents written by French priests, explorers, merchants, and military personnel.
Another Indian site can be found in Natchez, which is called the Emerald Mound and it is one of the largest of its kind offering great views from the top. Visitors looking for something to eat nearby to the village will find several eateries within a couple of miles including BOBO Chinese & Seafood Buffet, South China Restaurant and Edna's Cake Creations, which are all less than a mile and a half away. Natchez boasts many other attractions too including two old mansions in Melrose and Longwood or wine tasting at the Old South Winery, all of which are just a short drive away from the Grand Village.