Runa Photo by Shelia Kirven

RUNA performs for a crowded house with renditions of traditional Irish folk music interwoven with rhythms of jazz, bluegrass, flamenco and blues, as well as spirited dancing.

Choctaw Cultural Center celebrates Choctaw-Irish friendship at quarterly art market and culture event

By Shelia Kirven
April 3, 2023

The Choctaw Cultural Center held its quarterly arts market and culture event on Saturday, March 11 in Durant. Attendees spent the full day celebrating the Choctaw and Irish friendship. Guests enjoyed arrow-making, a pottery class and a special cooking class featuring shortbread cookies and Sassafras tea. Choctaw artists were on hand displaying and selling their handmade items. The Champuli Cafe included the United Kingdom’s traditional Shepherd’s Pie in its menu for the day.

Volunteers from the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) were also present to help with the special events.

Special activities included Irish games, dancing and a live performance by Celtic music group RUNA.

RUNA is an Irish Celtic Roots musical group who fuse traditional songs with music from around the world. Their performance was energetic and high-spirited, yet emotional and moving. The packed audience enjoyed the performance immensely, and there was hardly a person not clapping their hands, tapping their toes or jumping up at the end for an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Before and after the concert, band members joined visitors in the lobby for photos and sharing of the Choctaw and Irish cultures through games and dancing.

In 2020, members of RUNA traveled to the Choctaw Nation to continue the friendship of the Choctaw and Irish people, sharing food, dancing, and travel together to historic Choctaw sites. They collaborated on music as well, and those songs were sung by the group during the Choctaw Cultural Center event.