September 8 and 9, 2017

It is with great sadness that we share the tragic news of Robert Thrower’s death on Tuesday afternoon July 4th. Robert served as the Poarch Creek Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO). He was killed in a single-vehicle accident. Robert Thrower had a deep and abiding love of for his Tribe and a true commitment to preserving Poarch Creek history and culture. He began working officially for the Poarch Creek Indian on July 9, 1991. He followed in the footsteps of his mother, Gail Thrower, Poarch Creek’s first Tribal historian, and was respected throughout the Indian Country for his historic knowledge of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Not only was he proud to represent the Poarch Band of the Creek Indians, but he considered it an honor to serve on the United South and Eastern Tribes Culture and Heritage Committee. He served on the Committee from 2004 to 2008 and as Chairman of the USET Culture and Heritage Committee from 2008 to 2017.

Robert Thrower was a supportive friend and advisor to the Oka Kapassa Committee and Festival for over 17 years. He served on the Oka Kapassa Native American Advisory Board and continually worked to help the committee provided quality and authentic experiences for the Oka Kapassa Festival. As a historian, Robert interpreted events related to Tuscumbia in an accurate and informative manner both at the festival and on the walk from Tuscumbia Landing. He was always willing to support the Oka Kapassa Festival in a selfless and generous style by performing any tasks needed to make the event successful. Children and participants attending festival were greeted by Robert in a warm manner and provided information in a passionate way that made Native American culture come to life. Robert will be remembered as a dedicated and proud member of the Poarch Creek, using every opportunity to educate and share the stories of his tribe’s rich culture and history. Oka Kapassa has lost a true friend, selfless worker, and constant advisor. He will be sorely missed by many. What Robert taught us remains and we will do our best to pass his memory and knowledge down through the generations.

Funeral arrangements are as follows: Petty Funeral Home in Atmore, AL on Saturday, July 8th with visitation from 12:00-2:00 p.m. with the funeral following at 2:00 p.m.


Here's a video about Oka Kapassa, produced by our friends Brad Clonch and Jeff Carpenter from INJUNUITY.

Oka Kapassa, a special Native American gathering, is held in Spring Park, Tuscumbia, Alabama to celebrate the culture and traditions of American Indians who once thrived in north Alabama. The 17th annual two-day event will be held on Friday, September 8 and Saturday, September 9, 2017. Friday Sept. 8 is School Day, with hands-on activities for students in grades 4 - 5 (but is also open to the general public). Saturday Sept 9 is for the public, with scheduled dances, artists sharing their skills, Native food vendors, Native music, Chickasaw ponies, and much more. Admission is free to the public on both days.

See our Schedule Page for details.

Click here to see The 2016 Festival Flyer.

For general information, contact Colbert County Tourism at 256-383-0783 or 1-800-344-0783. Schools may register by contacting Tammy Wynn at the University of North Alabama In-Service Center, 256-765-4359 or 1-800-760-7517, or by email at



You will find the people of Tuscumbia and surrounding cities of Florence, Sheffield, and Muscle Shoals to be a warm and hospitable folk. Creek Indian Chief Chilley McIntosh spoke favorably of the people in Colbert County, stating "As long as our nation remains upon the earth, we will recollect Tuscumbia." Return to Coldwater is an event not only for the reunion of family and friends, but also for tourists who come to enjoy the celebration of native culture still very much alive here in the Tennessee Valley.

Many crafts and activities are offered, including

  • Storytelling & Stonecarving
  • Flutes & Flute Music
  • Hoop Dancing
  • Fancy & Traditional Dancing
  • Blowgun Demonstrations
  • Shell Carving
  • Flintknapping
  • Basket Making
  • Authentic Indian Foods - Frybread,
    Indian tacos, & Corn
  • Native American Language Table
  • Pottery
  • Jewelry & Beadwork
  • Archery Demonstrations
  • Hairbraiding
  • Dolls

  • Oka Kapassa: Return to Coldwater has been designated a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society.

    Oka Kapassa News

    Spring Park Festival Schedule



    Volunteer at Oka Kapassa!

    UNA 2015 Volunteers

    Festival Guidelines

    Festival Committee and Advisory Board

    Festival Images

    Oka Kapassa Salutes the Greatest Generation

    For more information contact:
    Colbert County Tourism
    (256) 383-0783   Toll Free (800) 344-0783

    Oka Kapassa Webmaster

    This page last updated 02/16/2017.